Desperate Zelensky Drafts Prisoners To Join Military As Ukraine Suffers Heavy Losses Against Russia

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Zelensky drafts prisoners to join military as Ukraine loses war with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has begun drafting prisoners in the country to join the military as Ukraine sustains heavy losses in its war against Russia.

Ukraine’s parliament passed an emergency bill last week allowing prisoners to enlist in the armed forces in a desperate bid to avoid losing the war. reports: The legislation garnered support from 279 out of 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada, and all that’s left for it to become law is the approval of Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk and President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both have endorsed the bill and its passage is almost certainly guaranteed at this point.

Olena Shuliak, leader of the ruling Servant of the People party – which both Stefanchuk and Zelensky are also members of – emphasized the voluntary nature of the mobilization and specified eligibility criteria: prisoners with no more than three years left of their sentence.

The move follows previous condemnations of Russia’s use of prisoners, notably in the battle of Bakhmut, where fighters recruited from prisons by Russia’s Wagner Group played a significant role.

The bill coincides with Kyiv’s efforts to urge military-age Ukrainians abroad to return and join the armed forces, with measures such as suspending consular services for eligible men and enlisting support from North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations to encourage their participation in combat against Russian forces.

This shift in policy comes at a crucial moment for Ukraine’s military, which is grappling with a severe shortage of personnel amid continued advances by Russian forces on the battlefield and an anticipated Russian offensive that is expected to herald significant breakthroughs.

Historically, Ukrainian authorities have vehemently opposed the mobilization of prisoners for military purposes and have consistently criticized Moscow for engaging in such practices.

Shuliak took to Facebook to announce the outcome of the vote. She explained that the legislation would create avenues for specific categories of prisoners who express a desire to defend their homeland to voluntarily join the military.

Convicts with serious offenses not allowed to sign up

Stringent eligibility criteria have been put in place to ensure that only individuals meeting certain conditions can participate. These criteria exclude those convicted of serious offenses such as sexual violence, multiple homicides, significant corruption and former high-ranking officials. Additionally, only prisoners with less than three years remaining on their sentences are eligible, with mobilized prisoners being granted parole rather than a full pardon.

While the bill’s passage represents a step forward for advocates like the organization Protection for Prisoners of Ukraine, concerns have been raised regarding its potentially discriminatory aspects and the risk of exploitation.

Some fear that the creation of “special units” for mobilized soldiers could expose prisoners to abuse, reminiscent of reported practices by Russia’s Wagner Group, which has been known to deploy convicts as expendable combatants on the front lines.

The phenomenon of Russia’s recruitment of prisoners for combat roles is not new and has been ongoing since the outset of the invasion in February 2022.

Initially, Russia offered presidential pardons as incentives for convicts to join the fight. This recruitment strategy, spearheaded by individuals like Yevgeny Prigozhin, has posed significant challenges for Ukraine as it seeks to bolster its defense capabilities in the face of escalating Russian aggression.

In response to the pressing need for manpower, Ukraine has implemented a series of measures, including tightening enforcement against draft evasion and reducing the draft age. These efforts underscore the country’s determination to strengthen its military readiness and defend its sovereignty against external threats.

Sean Adl-Tabatabai
About Sean Adl-Tabatabai 17773 Articles
Having cut his teeth in the mainstream media, including stints at the BBC, Sean witnessed the corruption within the system and developed a burning desire to expose the secrets that protect the elite and allow them to continue waging war on humanity. Disturbed by the agenda of the elites and dissatisfied with the alternative media, Sean decided it was time to shake things up. Knight of Joseon (