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Military: 'Thousands' of Ukrainian soldiers sent to combat units after armed forces audit

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 12, 2024 8:41 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armored vehicle in Novostepanivka, Kharkiv region, on Sept. 19, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi Chiba /AFP via Getty Images)
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"Thousands" of Ukrainian soldiers not previously serving on the front line have been sent to combat units, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on April 12.

The decision was made after a review of units in the Armed Forces as part of a larger Defense Ministry audit of the military, according to the statement.

With the war being fought as intensely as ever, Ukraine's military faces a growing need to replenish fighting units, build reserves, and allow existing soldiers to rotate off the front line.

In mid-March, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said that Ukraine has begun rotating troops who have been serving at the front “for a long time” despite the increasingly difficult situation on the battlefield, which reportedly has been stabilized at the end of last month.

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"Despite the fact that the Russian occupiers continue to pressure in a number of sectors, opportunities have been found to send brigades on a rotating basis for rest," the statement read.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian military command is seeking to strengthen the brigades that continue to perform combat missions at the front, the General Staff said.

Ukraine is battling with a manpower shortage and the government aims to ramp up mobilization efforts in 2024 and has pledged to change the approach to military recruitment, giving more choices to potential conscripts.

The parliament on April 11 passed the updated mobilization bill in its second reading after its initial, contentious version was withdrawn.

The parliament also voted to remove provisions on demobilization, which previously foresaw soldiers having the right to leave the military after 36 months of service, from the bill so that they could be considered separately.

According to a letter obtained by Ukrainska Pravda and published on April 9, the removal of demobilization from the bill came at the request of Syrskyi.

At a press conference in December 2023, Zelensky claimed that the military had requested the mobilization of 450,000-500,000 new conscript soldiers.

Later, Syrskyi said that as a result of an internal audit conducted by the Defense Ministry, that number had been "significantly reduced."

Opinion: Ukraine may have no choice but to lower its fighting age
Editor’s Note: Brian Bonner, the Kyiv Post’s chief editor from 2008-2021, is the host of Hromadske Radio’s podcast “Ukraine Calling.” This weekly English-language program, released on Fridays, can be found on Hromadske’s YouTube channel and website, as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud,…
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