Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on December 19th that Ukraine’s military has proposed mobilizing up to 500,000 additional troops, as the country remains determined to reclaim all occupied territories from Russia.
Mobilization Proposal Aims To Bolster Defenses
Zelenskyy revealed during a press conference that Ukraine’s General Staff has suggested mobilizing between 300,000 to 500,000 people to reinforce the country’s defenses. This proposed mobilization would be in addition to the over one million troops Ukraine has called up since the start of the invasion in February.
While Zelenskyy acknowledged Russia’s significant advantages in equipment and manpower, he asserted Ukraine has key strengths on its side – the nation’s “people, intelligence, wisdom.” The president stressed that Russia had made no significant territorial gains this year, despite its brutal assault on civilian infrastructure.
“The Ukrainian army is not permitting scenarios that the Russian army counted on,” Zelenskyy stated. “Ukraine is moving through this war differently – it started in a completely different place and is moving in a completely different direction.”
The additional troops would expand Ukraine’s capabilities to launch counteroffensives and solidify control of recaptured areas. However, Zelenskyy warned that the conflict could stretch into 2024: “No one today can say when this war will end.”
Determined To Reclaim All Territory
While declaring mobilization plans, President Zelenskyy underlined that Ukraine remains devoted to liberating all occupied lands seized since 2014. This includes Crimea and areas of Donetsk and Luhansk now controlled by Kremlin proxy forces.
“Returning territories is returning justice,” he stated firmly. “We will liberate Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk. Of course we will liberate Crimea.”
Zelenskyy acknowledged recapturing certain regions could require adjusting military tactics rather than brute force. He also rejected any concessions of Ukrainian land in exchange for NATO membership, stating Ukraine deserves to join NATO regardless.
|Status of Occupied Ukrainian Territories
|Crimea: Annexed by Russia in 2014 after a widely criticized referendum
|Areas of Donetsk/Luhansk: Partially occupied by Russia-backed separatists since 2014
|Kherson/Zaporizhzhia: Occupied by Russia during 2022 invasion
While prospects of negotiations remain unlikely, the president left the window open a crack: “When there is an opportunity for dialogue, Ukraine will be open to that dialogue.”
Confident Of Continued US Support
As Ukraine heads into a grim winter relying heavily on Western security assistance, Zelenskyy stated he remains “absolutely confident” the United States will uphold its vital support:
I have 100% confidence in President Biden, in Congress, in both parties supporting Ukraine. I’m sure they won’t allow betraying Ukrainians while we fight for freedom and land that historically belongs to us.”
US officials have committed nearly $50 billion in defense, economic, and humanitarian aid for Ukraine next year. However, some GOP lawmakers have voiced hesitancy about signing additional blank checks amid economic anxieties domestically.
Zelenskyy conceded that without Western allies supplying weapons, funding Ukraine’s government operations, and levying sanctions on Russia, the nation would be unable to sustain its defense.
Grim Outlook As Attacks Continue
While espousing confidence in ultimate victory, Zelenskyy acknowledged Ukraine still faces harrowing difficulties ahead. Russia has ratcheted up bombardments of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as winter sets in, plunging millions into frigid darkness. These attacks seek to “transform cold into a weapon of mass destruction.”
Meanwhile, fierce battles continue raging in embattled areas of Donetsk in Ukraine’s east. Russia is pouring more mobilized troops and mercenaries into the assault, with little care for their lives.
Human rights advocates have accused Russia of failing to protect civilians in occupied territories and potentially committing war crimes through forced deportations, torture, extrajudicial killings and indiscriminate attacks.
However, Ukrainian spirits remain ignited with fierce patriotism and resilience.
“We are fighting for our own future − not one imposed on us by Russia,” Zelenskyy emphasized proudly. “We will endure this winter knowing spring and victory are ahead.”
While the road ahead appears bleak and uncertain, Ukraine’s forces and civilians seem steeled for the long haul under Zelenskyy’s defiant leadership. With the president’s unwavering vows to reclaim all occupied land and confirmation of bolstered mobilization plans, the nation’s will to battle Russian aggression shows no signs of faltering.
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