Ukraine’s Mobilization Turmoil Shows their Strength

It shows the kind of people we are dealing with

Shankar Narayan
4 min readFeb 15, 2024
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One of the often-repeated complaints of Western Putinists against Ukraine is that we are dealing with a nation soaked in corruption: The administrators are so bad that our money is being looted.

Let us address their core complaint against Ukraine.

The far right in the United States should be the last group of people to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. But they just love doing so. They conduct insurrections and sing about patriotism. They enjoy acting like saints in a chapel.

The administration in Ukraine is currently experiencing turmoil in implementing mobilization. A corrupt group of administrators would have wasted no time in ordering mass mobilization or resorting to manipulative tactics to coerce people into fighting. Just look at the Kremlin, where ethnic minorities are relentlessly targeted, and the socially advantaged are seen as easy targets.

In occupied Crimea all but two of the 48 people who were issued draft notices in September 2022 were ethnic Tatars.

The Financial Times published a detailed report on Putin’s ultra aggressive mobilization tactics: “Ethnic minorities such as Buryats have been disproportionately targeted by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation drive to bolster his invasion of Ukraine.

Ethnic minorities in republics from Dagestan in the Caucasus to Yakutia in northeastern Siberia have seen a larger proportion of the male population rounded up and in a much more aggressive and arbitrary way, according to activists”.

Rounded up. Aggressive. And arbitrary.

This is the behavior typical of a corrupt government that disregards the welfare of its own people.

A corrupt nation would not send a mobilization bill to the parliament in December, withdraw it in January, replace the commander-in-chief due to disputes over mobilization, and then send another bill in February.

The legislation is still not a done deal. It must navigate through several more steps before it can be enacted into law.

What is in the mobilization bill?

In its current form, the legislation would lower the age at which people can be mobilised for combat duty by two years to 25.

It would also require potential military personnel who are abroad to have up-to-date military registrations. Obtaining such a document would be a prerequisite to receiving consular services.

Tighter sanctions for draft evasion, including an asset freeze, are also included. While the bill would also allow soldiers who have served continuously for 36 months during the war to be discharged, this would not be automatic.

Why Ukraine needs Mobilization instead of a recruitment drive?

According to American estimates reported in August 2023, Ukraine had suffered 200,000 casualties, with an estimated 70,000 dead. This represents a reduction in troop capacity of over a quarter of a million. In contrast, Russia has increased its troop strength through clandestine mobilization efforts.

Research by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a London based think tank says Russia is very close to a troop strength of half a million troops in Ukraine:

“The Russian military began 2023 with a highly disorganised force in Ukraine comprising approximately 360,000 troops. By the beginning of the Ukrainian offensive in June 2023, this had risen to 410,000 troops and was becoming more organised.

Over the summer of 2023, Russia established training regiments along the border and in the occupied territories and, following the mutiny of Wagner forces, endeavoured to standardise its units, breaking down the previous trend towards private armies. By the beginning of 2024, the Russian Operational Group of Forces in the occupied territories comprised 470,000 troops”.

Ukraine is severely short on ammunition. If their troop capacity falls too low to counter the Russian army, things will become extremely difficult. It will be too much of a mountain to climb in Spring 2024 when the F16s are expected to be on the battlefield.

Under the current circumstances, their primary objective will be to hold the line and absorb the Russian offensive pressure. Mobilization will not solve their ammunition problem, but it will alleviate the pressure on the troops. It will enable Ukraine to rotate the troops efficiently at the frontline.

A normal recruitment drive will not be enough to meet the current requirements.

In an interview published in December 2023, Kyrollo Budanov, Ukraine’s spy chief explained why Ukraine has to order mobilization.

He said,

“This is a fact, and it needs to be understood and recognized. With such volumes, no recruitment will cover our needs without mobilization. This is a similar problem to ammunition because the quantities are enormous. The total strength of the Armed Forces of Ukraine now amounts to (the name is somewhat conditional in quantity because we are approaching state secrets) one million one hundred thousand people. No recruitment can cover such volumes. Only mobilization”.

So, yes.

Ukraine is moving towards mobilization, but they are not resorting to manipulative tactics like the Kremlin. However, this won’t sway Putinists in the western world because their goal was never to enhance scrutiny of the Ukrainian administration. It was always about sowing doubt in our minds. When you support the Kremlin, it’s natural to adopt certain qualities.



Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.