Day 625 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Fewer and Fewer Ukrainians Want to Serve in the ArmyUkraine | November 10, 2023, Friday // 12:55| views
Day 625 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- The soldiers of Ukraine are being depleted - what is Kyiv doing
- The Ukrainian military claims that Russian attacks on Avdiivka are intensifying
- Civilian casualties in Russian missile strikes in Kherson region
- Abu Dhabi to limit exports of dual-use goods to Russia
- Putin will answer citizens' questions - on December 14
- The EU is considering continuing financial and military aid to Ukraine with national guarantees
- Deputy NATO Secretary General: We are in the midst of a geopolitical earthquake
The soldiers of Ukraine are being depleted - what is Kyiv doing
More than a year and a half after the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, fewer and fewer Ukrainians want to serve in the army. This is confirmed by military commanders, as well as the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. He explained to the Economist magazine the reasons for this: the protracted war, the limited possibilities to replace the soldiers at the front and some loopholes in the legislation, allowing mobilization to be avoided.
Military psychologist and army officer Andriy Kozinchuk confirms this assessment: "People are running out at the front - they die, are maimed, get sick, get old. In my battalion, three soldiers were sent home because they turned 60. I myself am currently in hospital. There is a shortage of fighters. Without people, we will not be able to do anything, even if we have modern drones, tanks and planes. They are served by people," he told DW.
Other commanders also do not hide that the Ukrainian army has such a problem. Military officials say that the lack of clear deadlines for the demobilization of those who have served in the army for more than a year and a half is an additional problem. It also discourages people who might actually want to join the military.
Therefore, the cabinet in Kyiv is making efforts to make military service more attractive. For example, the Ministry of Digital Transformation has launched a pilot project called "smart mobilization", which allows Ukrainians to choose for themselves exactly what they will do in the army.
"Those interested will be able to choose, for example, to fly a drone or serve in a combat drone unit. If they apply and pass the tests, they will certainly start the relevant training and finally get the assignment they want," explains the Minister of Digital Transformation Mihailo Fedorov.
Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi promised that the training of the mobilized will be led by experienced military personnel. "We are introducing combat training, after which those who have passed it will be among the experienced units of the front," he announced.
Military psychologist Andriy Kozinchuk believes this will better motivate civilians to join the army. "I don't believe in coercion. We can counter it by explaining to people how important it is for them to identify with the state and have the right to choose. If you know you wanted this, you will serve in another way," he adds.
Experts explain how motivation for military service can be improved. Here it is very important that people are informed honestly about the advantages and disadvantages of military service. In this regard, the security expert from the Research Center "Razumkov" in Kyiv Oleksiy Melnyk gives an example with the campaign to recruit soldiers for the Third Assault Brigade - with posters in cities and on social networks. Melnyk points out that such a campaign is much more effective than military conscription. The right approach, according to him, is voluntary service and good information. "This is how you get motivated people who most fully meet the requirements," says the specialist.
Of course, this is the goal of the new concept of the personnel policy of the army until 2028, approved by the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Rustem Umierov. The idea is to enable the military to introduce contract service. Obviously, compulsory military service is about to be replaced by intensive military training for citizens under the age limit for military service.
The Ministry of Defense emphasizes that Ukraine will have an effective system for recruiting professional and motivated personnel for its armed forces. At the center of this new approach will be placed the person. In addition, it will take into account training and professional development opportunities for service members, as well as gender equality. The ministry promises more efficient and transparent pay.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russian attacks on Avdiivka are intensifying
Russian troops are stepping up their attacks on the key town of Avdiivka, a senior Ukrainian military official said, and Ukraine's general staff said its army had repelled many Russian attacks on separate sectors of the front, Reuters reported.
President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Ukraine's counteroffensive, which began in June, as "inspiring" but gave no details.
Russian forces focused on the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk after their advance on Kyiv stalled in the early days of the invasion in February 2022, Reuters recalled. Since mid-October, they have been targeting the ruined town of Avdiivka, known as the gateway to the city of Donetsk, located 20 km away. to the east.
Oleksandr Borodin, commander of Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade, said Russian forces launched major infantry attacks while trying to keep equipment intact.
Borodin told the Espresso news channel that there are no dramatic statistics on the destruction of enemy equipment, “because they use it much less, mainly from a distance”.
"But their actions are now quite condensed. Not only the infantry is advancing, but also the artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, aviation, the same aerial bombardments, etc. are also operating in parallel."
Russian forces, he told Espresso, were unable to quickly replenish their supplies, and Ukrainian defense positions were solid. "It all started after the events in Israel," he says. "Maybe they think this is the best time to make progress, but they're not having any serious success."
Vitaly Barabash, the head of Avdiivka's military administration, told Espresso that Russian forces were shelling the city "round the clock", but the wet ground from several days of rain was holding back their movement.
"Once the ground dries out, they will definitely advance."
In its evening report, Ukraine's General Staff said its units had repelled 11 attacks in the Avdiivka region, 15 in nearby Mariinka and 22 in the northeast in Bakhmut, a town captured by Russia in May. Six attacks were repulsed in the north near Kupiansk, where Russian forces were active. The Investigative Committee of Russia, in a report on the day's events, said that Ukrainian forces shelled the town of Skadovsk in a Russian-occupied area in the southern part of the Kherson region, the information states that there were dead and wounded in the attack.
The Russian Ministry of Defense reported strikes on Ukrainian troops and equipment near Bakhmut.
Civilian casualties in Russian missile strikes in Kherson region
Russian shelling in southern Ukraine's Kherson region killed and wounded several people on Thursday, DPA reported.
According to military governor Oleksandr Prokudin, a 72-year-old man died in the Ukrainian-controlled part as a result of Russian shelling of residential areas in the regional capital of the same name, Kherson. Two other people were injured.
Russian occupation forces on the other side of the Dnieper River, for their part, reported several deaths in the port city of Skadovsk, on the Black Sea. Vladimir Saldo, the Russian governor of the Kherson region, wrote on Telegram that 11 people had been hospitalized.
This cannot be confirmed through an independent source.
Mark Krutov from Radio Free Europe said on the “X” social network that several senior Russian officers were killed in the Ukrainian strikes. Local Russian authorities said on Telegram that they had opened an investigation into the murder.
Russia, which has been waging an all-out war against Ukraine for more than 20 months, currently occupies about a fifth of Ukrainian territory. Last year, the Ukrainian army managed to liberate part of the occupied Kherson region.
Since then, however, this area has repeatedly come under heavy fire from Russian troops, who are stationed across the Dnieper River.
Abu Dhabi to limit exports of dual-use goods to Russia
The United Arab Emirates has agreed to limit the re-export to Russia of sensitive goods used for military purposes in Ukraine, Bloomberg and Reuters reported late on Thursday.
A UAE official told Bloomberg News that it restricts the export and re-export of identified dual-use items to conflict zones and has a legal export control framework in place to continuously monitor the export of dual-use goods.
Turkey, which condemns the war in Ukraine but has not joined Western sanctions against the Kremlin, is also considering a similar measure to limit certain re-exports, the agency reported.
Last week, the US cracked down on sanctions evasion in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China, as the Treasury Department said companies based in those countries continued to send high-priority dual-use goods to Russia, including components that Moscow relies on for its weapon systems.
Re-exports from countries that do not support Western sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine are a major way for Moscow to procure goods that are included in the sanctions. The government in the Kremlin adopted a special decree easing the import of such goods, including all kinds of items - from electronics and spare parts to luxury perfumes.
Putin will answer citizens' questions - on December 14
The Kremlin is planning a press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin with questions from ordinary citizens on December 14, Reuters reported, citing today's information from Russian media RBC.
RBC refers to sources who asked to remain anonymous.
The event is scheduled to be televised.
Putin, who has not yet announced his candidacy for next March's presidential election, has given a major press conference and participated in a Q&A format each year, traditionally two separate events. However, neither format was organized last year after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Reuters notes.
Vladimir Putin met today with the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov to discuss with them the course of the war in Ukraine, reported Reuters.
Footage released by the Kremlin showed Putin talking to Shoigu, Gerasimov and General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, at the headquarters of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces, located in Rostov-on-Don.
"After completing his official visit to Astana, Vladimir Putin arrived by plane in Rostov, where he visited the headquarters of the Southern Military District," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"The commander-in-chief was shown new models of military equipment. The head of state listened to reports on the progress of the special military operation," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin visited the headquarters of the Southern Military District last month as well, Reuters recalls.
The EU is considering continuing financial and military aid to Ukraine with national guarantees
European countries are looking for a backup plan to continue aid to Ukraine if Hungary follows through on its threat to veto the EU budget update. EU finance ministers will discuss the issue at their meeting in Brussels on Friday.
In the summer, the European Commission warned that all funds and reserves had been exhausted and it would have to freeze financial, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine from 2024 if no additional funds were voted in.
The Commission submitted a request to update the European budget until 2027, and of the 66 billion euros requested additionally, 50 billion are for Ukraine.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbаn said in late October that the request in its current form was unacceptable. Budapest is negotiating with the European Commission to unfreeze EU funds and its recovery plan, which it has suspended until Hungary implements certain reforms related to the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
Several other countries, led by the Netherlands, are against the European Commission's request for an increase in member states' national contributions to fill the gap, and are proposing other sources to finance the update.
"Ukraine's funding shortfall is likely to remain huge," the European Commission's executive vice-president for economic and financial affairs, Valdis Dombrovskis, said after the meeting. He pointed out that the EU needs a quick decision, as Ukraine is about to present its spending plan to be evaluated by the commission.
"All of this takes time," Dombrovskis said.
The European Commission has proposed that the money for Ukraine be kept in a separate fund, which must also be approved by the member states.
According to the vice-president of the European Commission, a possible backup option for continuing the financing of Ukraine is from the frozen Russian assets. However, the Commission has not yet proposed how to legislatively settle this, after several times during the year it postponed the submission of the project due to legal problems.
The Bloomberg agency reports that another option, which can be more operationally achieved, is the provision of national guarantees by EU member states to attract financing to the markets.
Bulgaria defends a position that the EU should update its budget at the expense of increasing national contributions to it, and not by taking money from other funds and programs. Bulgaria has one of the smallest contributions to the budget, the amount of which is calculated according to a formula determined by the size of the respective national economy. At the same time, it is one of the major recipients of European funds relative to the size of its national domestic product.
Deputy NATO Secretary General: We are in the midst of a geopolitical earthquake
“We are in the midst of a geopolitical earthquake. War returns to Europe and the Middle East”. This was stated by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the opening of the 12th edition of the Aspen-GMF Bucharest Forum 2023 in Bucharest.
"If we look at the region from a broader perspective, we will see without a doubt that we are in the middle of a geopolitical earthquake. War is returning to Europe and the Middle East. Terrorists are attacking anyone, anywhere, at any time. We must not forget and help those who need our help, and we can do it together," said Mircea Geoană.
He expressed the opinion that the Black Sea region was never independent, never stood alone.
"There is no activity in the world that is not related to the Black Sea - through cyber security, economy, politics," noted the deputy secretary general of the alliance. He added that many times there have been geopolitical contests throughout history, but there has not been such a transformation of democratic foundations and values.
"We see incredible unity in the Transatlantic world. I want to thank our allies. When drones crashed on Romanian territory, it was disturbing. The US increased its presence in Romania. Other allies did the same," commented Mircea Geoană.
He did not fail to note that he will visit Bulgaria on Friday.
"We will conduct joint exercises with our neighbor to the south, and this is very important," stressed the deputy secretary general of the alliance.
He also commented on the war in Ukraine, noting that European security depends on the outcome of this war and many things in the world depend on the war.
"Some are commenting that we are tired of the war in Ukraine. We cannot afford that. I know there are many question marks in our region about this war, but we have to continue to support Ukraine and that is the only thing we have to do together," Mircea Geoană said.
According to him, Russia will try to undermine energy security in the winter this year as well.
"He will try to keep Ukraine in the dark and cold. This is inhumane. But Ukraine is much better prepared than last year," Geoană added.
He shared NATO's plans to invest more in security.
"The EU and Canada set aside 8.3 percent of the defense budget. Poland next year has earmarked 4 percent of its GDP for defense, and Romania - 2.5 percent, and this is good news, we need it," noted Geoană.
The Deputy Secretary General also commented that the center of gravity in Europe is moving eastward.
"We have a new economic and geopolitical center of gravity on our continent," he added.
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