The Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, Valery Zaluzhny, in his first press conference since Russia’s full-scale invasion, talked about the mobilization of 500,000 troops and demobilization for current combat veterans, the quantities of weapons needed for victory and military plans for 2024.

Kyiv Post here cites Zaluzhny’s main points he discussed during the press conference, which took place on Tuesday, Dec. 26.

On demobilization of current Ukrainian troops

“I will not get tired of reminding that there is a war that develops according to its [own] laws. Everything that happens in war depends on the actions of our enemy.

“I clearly understand and know that our fighters at the front are doing their job in extremely difficult conditions. It is very difficult for them. Of course, I would like people who join the army, and especially those who are already serving in the army, to clearly understand how [long] they will have to fight.

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“Together with the Ministry of Defense, we agreed on a figure of 36 months, hoping for two [conditions]. First, that there will be no escalation at the front. Second, these people will be replaced in 36 months.

“The government should understand: If we are talking about demobilization, then most likely it will be necessary to start this process in the recruitment of people and preparation already next year. To be able to demobilize [current soldiers]in 2025."

On 500,000 mobilized troops

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“As the commander-in-chief, I would never operate with such numbers. We are aware of the declared volumes of mobilization in Russia, and we declare ours. And believe me, Russia will change its numbers. I would not bear to discuss such figures in general.”

On training for the mobilized troops

“I agree that people should go to perform combat tasks prepared. In this [area], I agree with any initiatives that may be taken. Even increased responsibility for the fact that sometimes there are moments when a person gets to the front unprepared. This absolutely [should not happen].

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“We have a great opportunity to leverage both our capabilities and those provided by our partners. Our partners pay great attention to this. And in fact, today our possibilities are unlimited. We can train up to 10 brigades (from 1,000 to 8,000 people each) of full strength.”

Electronic summons to citizens

“This proposal was not made by the General Staff or the Armed Forces.

“We welcome any that will satisfy our need for people. If we receive them as a result of electronic summonses, it will be good.”

On Western experts

“A lot is written in the Western mass media. Sometimes they show me what is written there. With all due respect to the expert environment in the West, some things I don't even want to read.

“They do not understand what is happening here. There is a very small percentage of those experts with whom you can agree.”

On the weapons needed

“I was not disappointed with the level of weapons provision that was in 2023.

“Yes, of course, it was incomplete, but at least it allowed us to confidently conduct combat operations.”

On the losses of the Russian army

“That was one of my major mistakes, that I believed that the number of casualties inflicted on the enemy even a year ago could stop the war. That the number of casualties would stop any country. But not Russia.

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“On the line of contact are mountains of enemy bodies, no one is trying to take them away. Such is the attitude of the Russian Federation to its people.

“Today it is difficult to predict how much more losses need to be inflicted for this to stop. I believe that it is necessary to do this continuously until the war ends and the enemy refuses to conduct hostilities in our country.”

The town of Marinka no longer exists

“As of today, our troops are still in the northern part of Marinka. This settlement no longer exists. The method is the same as it was in Bakhmut: street by street is destroyed.

“The fact that we have now retreated to the outskirts of Marinka, and in some places, we have already equipped a position behind Marinka, there is nothing resonant.”

On plans for the year 2024

“2024 must be different from 2023. We have already found 90 percent of the solutions to act more effectively next year and, most importantly, save people.

“Our partners, who were also interested in this issue, agreed with us. I can assure you that the next war year will be different. We will do everything for this.”

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