Ukrainian Governor Calls for All 40 Million Citizens to Fight

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Kiev should mobilize the entire country instead of the proposed additional 500,000 people, Vitaly Kim argues

Ukraine should mobilize its entire population to fight against Russia instead of the 500 thousand recently proposed by President Vladimir Zelensky, the governor of the Nikolaev region, Vitaliy Kim, has said. 

Kim’s comments in a TV interview came after Zelensky stated last week that Ukraine’s military command had asked to conscript half a million men over the coming year. The secretary of Ukraine’s parliamentary national security committee, Roman Kostenko, explained that the mobilization drive is needed to cover casualties and form new units.

Kim, however, argued that conscripting 500,000 people is “not enough” and that Ukraine needs to attract at least two million volunteers. Or better still, the governor suggested, Kiev should look to mobilize the country’s entire population of 40 million, claiming that the fight against Russia is similar to WWII.

In addition, Kim suggested that all enterprises in Ukraine should be mobilized and put on a war footing, regardless of the impact on profits.

“The more we mobilize, the faster Putin will surrender,” the governor said.

Zelensky’s proposal to mobilize 500 thousand people has raised eyebrows even in Kiev, with Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzny stating that he had never requested any specific numbers from Zelensky and has only demanded, as always, ammunition, weapons and human resources.

Ukraine’s Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko has also seemingly been baffled by Zelensky’s proposal, stating that no concrete plans have yet been submitted to his ministry, and that it is unclear where Kiev would can get the money to fund the mobilization of half a million people, which would cost an estimate of 500 billion hryvnia ($13.2 billion).

However, some have suggested that Zelensky’s mobilization announcement may be an attempt to encourage the West to provide additional weapons and funds. According to former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov, the Ukrainian leader could use the situation to tell Kiev’s partners: “see, we’re gathering an army of half a million. It must be equipped, it must be armed. These are huge costs and expenses.”

While it is unclear when and how Kiev will conscript 500 thousand men, it has already started working on revising its mobilization laws, with lawmakers looking to reduce the conscription age from 27 to 25 and introduce electronic military summons.

According to Russia’s estimates, an estimated 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been either killed or wounded since the start of the conflict in February 2022, including 125,000 during Kiev’s failed counteroffensive between early June and late November.

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