Ukraine Parliament Passes Bill Overhauling Mobilization Rules

Ukraine Parliament Passes Bill Overhauling Mobilization Rules
Volunteers who aspire to join the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces take part in a basic training, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on March 5, 2024. (Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

KYIV—Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill on April 11 to overhaul the rules governing how the military mobilizes civilians into its ranks as the war rages on with no end in sight.

The legislation, which must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before it becomes law, is seen as crucial for Ukraine to address what military analysts say are major manpower problems as it fights a better-armed and larger foe.

The bill was passed in its final reading with a majority of 283 votes after months of deliberations, Yaroslav Zhelezniak, a lawmaker for the Holos party, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

A full, final text with all the amendments was not immediately published on the parliament’s websites.

It was clear the bill sets no limit for the length of time that mobilized soldiers have to serve during the war, a highly sensitive issue for the many thousands of people who joined the army when Russia’s launched its invasion.

On the battlefield, Russia is inching forward in the east, and Ukraine is on the back foot, facing shortages of artillery shells amid a slowdown in Western military assistance.

Oleksandr Pavliuk, the ground forces commander, called on Ukrainians earlier this week to enlist in the army or to be ready to serve in the army.

“We must realize, no one will be able to sit tight,” he wrote on Facebook.

“No matter how much help we get, no matter how many weapons we have, we lack people! The equipment doesn’t drive by itself, the weapon doesn’t shoot by itself, and the drone won’t fly by itself.”

It took the Ukrainian Parliament several months to put the bill to a final vote this week, as politicians accused each other of drafting poorly-worded amendments and lacking the political will to approve unpopular changes.

More than 4,000 amendments were submitted after the first reading was passed in February.