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Ukraine plans new big military draft

Tuesday February 16 2016

Ukrainian servicemen take part in a military parade in Kiev on August 24, 2015 to celebrate Independence Day, 24 years since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union. Over the two years that have passed since the armed coup in Kiev dramatically changed Ukraine, the new government declared six waves of mobilization. PHOTO | AFP

Ukrainian servicemen take part in a military parade in Kiev on August 24, 2015 to celebrate Independence Day, 24 years since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union. Over the two years that have passed since the armed coup in Kiev dramatically changed Ukraine, the new government declared six waves of mobilization. PHOTO | AFP 

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KIEV

The president of Ukraine, Mr Petro Poroshenko has suggested an amendment that would allow him to start military mobilisation without announcing it beforehand.

The measure was proposed after only 60 per cent of draftees were enlisted in the previous run.

Over the two years that have passed since the armed coup in Kiev dramatically changed Ukraine, the new government declared six waves of mobilization.

It’s a special kind of military draft separate from regular conscription that is used to respond to an emergency.

The draft was needed to boost military units sent to fight the rebellious eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

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Ukraine nearly doubled the strength of its army from the initial 130,000 to 232,000 in 2014 and wants to have 250,000 standing troops, 210,000 people were drafted overall, some of them already demobilised.

The war effort, however, became increasingly difficult to maintain.

The initial surge of volunteers dwindled while the number of people who would rather risk prosecution for dodging the draft than put their necks on the line increased.

RECRUITMENT PROCESS
During the latest sixth wave in July-August 2015, the Ukrainian military managed to get just over 60 per cent of the intended draftees, the Defence Ministry reported.

There were 8.5 per cent of volunteers among them.

The military complained that its officers often had problems with getting the summons to potential draftees, who moved to another address or simply refused to open their doors.

Of those who did get their summons, over half chose to ignore it and run.

The ministry said 26,800 men are now subject to prosecution for avoiding military service.

Meanwhile, Ukraine on Monday banned the transit of Russian trucks across its territory in a tit-for-tat response to an escalating trade war between the feuding ex-Soviet states.

The measure follows a halt to all flights between the neighbours and an effective Russian freeze on Ukrainian imports that have hit the cash-strapped country’s industrial exports especially hard.