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Zaluzhnyi, Umerov start talks with parliamentary committee on new mobilization law

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 4, 2024 12:57 PM 2 min read
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov on Dec. 18, 2023. (Eugen Kotenko/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov arrived at Ukraine's parliament for talks on the new law on mobilization, David Arakhamia, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People faction, reported on Telegram on Jan. 4.

The discussion between the command of the Armed Forces, Defense Ministry representatives, and parliament's committee on security and defense will last "several days," Arakhamia said. Chief of the General Staff Serhii Shaptala is also in attendance.

The talks are related to the government's submission of a draft law on mobilization and military service on Dec. 25, which proposes, among other things, to restrict the rights of those who evade military registration and service.

Parliament will not accept the bill without amendments, Yevheniia Kravchuk, a lawmaker and a deputy head of the parliament's committee on humanitarian and information policy, said on Jan. 2.

The proposed restrictions also include banning those who evade military registration and service from traveling abroad, restricting their rights to drive a vehicle or obtain a driver's license, and suspending their benefits and services from the state.

According to Kravchuk, parliament's committee on security and defense issues will work this week on "a more accommodating option, which would allow it to be voted on."

During his press conference on Dec. 19, Zelensky said that Ukraine's military leadership had proposed to mobilize up to 500,000 additional conscripts but that the plan had yet to address several key issues before he could support it.

Zaluzhnyi then denied that the military had submitted a formal request to mobilize 500,000 people but said that the military did have a plan for mobilization numbers for 2024.

"As for this number, we have generated it for the next year, it of course takes into account the coverage of the current kit, the formation of new military units, and also the projection of our losses that we may suffer in 2024. I can't divulge the numbers for each of these indicators. This is a military secret," he said at a news briefing.

Zaluzhnyi also said he was unhappy with the work of military enlistment offices. "As far as military enlistment offices are concerned, frankly speaking, I'm not satisfied with their work yet."

Zaluzhnyi also welcomed the idea proposed by Umerov of electronic summonses for conscripts.

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