Zelensky: Military proposed to mobilize 450,000-500,000 soldiers

Zelensky: Military proposed to mobilize 450,000-500,000 soldiers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the military officers offered him at a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to mobilize an additional 450,000-500,000 soldiers.

He said this at a press conference to mark the end of 2023, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"This issue [of mobilization] is an issue of our military, the Commander-in-Chief, the General Staff. They raised the issue of mobilization at the level of our Staff. I think this issue is very sensitive. They addressed me in terms of the defense of our state and potential counteroffensive operations. […] They proposed to mobilize an additional 450,000-500,000 people. This is a very serious figure. I said that I need more arguments to support this direction, because it is a matter of people first and foremost. The second question is a question of fairness. This is a question of defense capability and a question of finances," Zelensky said.

He noted that as far as people are concerned, he needs specifics on "what will happen to the million-strong Ukrainian army, which is very powerful, and what will happen to those guys who are there every day, at least what will happen to those who have been there for two years protecting our state?"

"And if we have issues of rotation, we have issues of vacations, then it should be a comprehensive plan. And in this mobilization law, you must provide answers to me and society first of all," Zelensky said.

Thus, he added, the military began working on a plan for demobilization in Ukraine.

"I have not yet seen demobilization there. I think this is the number one question. And the question is not what this process is called. According to the legislation, it may be wrong to call it 'demobilization,' but the main thing is that this process should be fair to our powerful soldiers. It is very difficult for them there. I have been there many times. I would really like our military leadership to understand all these challenges. We cannot lose the bravest people, powerful people, their morale. I thank them for this resilience, but if we are talking about additional mobilization forces, we must find demobilization processes. This should be stated objectively, with specifics and with great respect for the soldiers," Zelensky said.

According to him, this plan should contain regulations regarding the military's business trips, their vacations, transfers from one unit to another, etc.

Zelensky said that "the requests that our army has today must meet modern challenges and must find an answer from the military leadership."

"That is, it is very important for me, if we have over 400,000, then who deserves the right to have a rest? This is a very important point. In my opinion, it doesn't work without this. Nevertheless, it is submitted to the Staff meeting - they must prepare a comprehensive plan and then they will communicate in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. If these are changes to the relevant legislation, then we need to find an understanding of this issue," Zelensky said.

He also commented on the financial aspect of the issue.

"As for finances, mobilization in this format will cost Ukraine an additional 500 billion hryvnias. Therefore, I, as the president of Ukraine, a person who spends a lot of his time in search of financial support for Ukraine, would like an understanding from the prime minister, from the minister of finance on where we get this money," he concluded.

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