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May 22, 2024

Zelensky Proposes Mobilizing 500,000 More Troops As Russia War Drags On

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Dec 21, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has proposed mobilizing up to 500,000 additional troops in 2023 to boost Ukraine’s defenses against Russia’s invasion. This comes as the war approaches its one-year anniversary, with no end in sight.

Army Requests More Manpower For Counteroffensive

On December 19th, Zelensky revealed that Ukraine’s military leadership had formally requested authorization to mobilize between 450,000 to 500,000 people within the next year. This would nearly double the size of Ukraine’s armed forces, which numbered around 250,000 troops before the Russian invasion in February.

Zelensky stated that he was still weighing the request but signaled he would likely approve it, saying “We have to hold the lines…Any war ends with an agreement and it is necessary to strengthen positions to achieve it.”

The additional troops would replenish Ukraine’s depleted forces and enable new counteroffensives to reclaim occupied territory in 2023. Top military officials have warned that current troop levels are inadequate to achieve victory and have pushed for more mobilization despite public fatigue with the war.

It is clear that we need strengthenings…500,000 is what is needed for the middle link between what we have now and what we need to win this war,” said Yuri Mysyak, head of the Association of Veterans in Ukraine.

Mixed Public Reaction As Sacrifices Mount

The proposal has received a mixed public response in Ukraine as the human cost of the war mounts. While some Ukrainians remain staunchly committed to defeating Russia, others question whether victory is possible and if more lives should be sacrificed.

Over 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died since February, with tens of thousands more wounded. Civilian casualties are estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Infrastructure and cities across Ukraine have faced relentless bombardment.

|Key Figures|
|-|
|Total mobilized so far|1 million|
|Additional troops requested|450,000 – 500,000|
|Total Ukrainian casualties|Over 13,000 killed, tens of thousands wounded|
|Civilian casualties|Tens of thousands dead or injured|

Polls indicate support for the war effort remains high. However, there are concerns that public resolve may weaken if casualties spike further in bloody urban battles anticipated in 2023. Younger Ukrainians have borne the brunt of fighting, with limited training and inadequate equipment.

Some military families have expressed frustration over a lack of rotation for troops stuck on the front lines for months. Questions have also surfaced over the competence of Ukraine’s military leadership.

We cannot afford incompetence at this stage of the war with the level of threat we are facing,” Zelensky publicly admonished Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, demanding better results in 2023.

Race Against Time Before Western Support Wanes

Mobilizing more manpower represents a race against time for Ukraine to make decisive battlefield gains before economic and political support from Western allies wanes in 2023.

Several European countries are forecasting recessions next year, making it more difficult to finance the billions in economic and military aid pledged to Ukraine. Rising energy and food costs from the war are also fueling public discontent.

In the US, Republicans taking over the House have threatened to reduce assistance packages, concerned over costs and reports of corruption. However, Zelensky expressed confidence that American backing would continue even with a potential Trump presidency in 2024.

To incentivize allies, Ukraine must prove it can retake substantial territory with additional weapons supplies. But Russia still retains overall military advantages and Putin remains emboldened by China’s strengthened partnership.

Most experts warn the war could stretch on for years, while Zelensky himself stated “No one knows when it will end.” But without more mobilization and arms, Ukraine risks losing momentum along with international support.

For a country still reeling from 10 months of brutal warfare, questions remain whether the Ukrainian public and fading allies abroad have the stamina for this expanded effort. Zelensky is betting they will endure.

What Next For The War In 2023

  • Both sides gearing up for pivotal spring counteroffensives
  • Ukraine likely to focus on southern Kherson region first
  • Quest to cut Russian supply lines and ammo depots
  • Urban warfare with high casualties predicted
  • Putin decrees expanded Russian troop levels to 1.5 million
  • Unpredictable factors like Belarus entering war
  • Russia still holds overall military advantage
  • Nuclear or chemical weapons remain worst case scenario
  • Economic toll in Europe threatening unity over sanctions
  • Republican opposition and Ukraine corruption issues growing concerns
  • Conflict risks entering bloody stalemate lasting years

Zelensky’s gambit for hundreds of thousands more troops confronts Ukraine and the West with stark choices as the war’s first anniversary nears. Russia still retains the upper hand militarily, but Ukraine shows no signs of backing down.

With both sides appearing to settle in for the long haul and the road ahead drenched in blood, there may be no easy or imminent end on the horizon. The months ahead will test the mettle of Ukraine’s people and allies abroad in unprecedented ways.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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