Dozens of citizens in Kyiv gathered on Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square on Sunday to call on the government to establish reasonable terms on release from military enlistment or conscription after close to two years of full-scale war.

Among the demands were the demobilization of their loved ones and troop rotations, as some Ukrainians were called into service when Russia launched a full invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, and remain on active duty as Kyiv struggles to fill the ranks.

Banners with messages such as “Heroes are not slaves” and “He is my hero, not your slave” could be seen at the rally.

In recent months, Kyiv has been trying to amend the law on mobilization. The first draft law submitted by the Ministry of Defense was shunned by many and was ultimately rejected; the revised version, taking comments from initial opposition into consideration, recently passed the first reading in the Verkhovna Rada.


Regarding demobilization, the new draft bill said it would be possible after 37 months – within a month from a servicemember submitting a report to the military.

There are also other grounds to resign from service before the 37 months:

  • due to age or health condition;
  • in connection with the entry into legal force of a guilty verdict, imposing punishment in the form of imprisonment;
  • due to family circumstances;
  • in connection with release from captivity;
  • because of election as a member of the parliament or appointment to the post of judge.

While many were quick to join the military when the full-scale invasion broke out, the grim reality of war has reached beyond the front line, and many Ukrainians are now somewhat reluctant to join the armed forces (AFU).

This has created a dilemma for the military as frontline troops began to experience war fatigue, while it was becoming difficult to recruit fresh troops to replenish the ranks – an increasingly concerning issue in the face of Russia’s manpower advantage.

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The minister of strategic industries has disclosed that Ukrainian defense industry capabilities are several times larger than the funding available to support it,“so right now we have to cherry-pick.”

As a result, the new draft bill has included terms on demobilization and tightened rules on war dodgers simultaneously to maintain a steady supply of manpower to fend off Russia’s aggression.

However, with the recent change of military leadership in Ukraine, many have also suspected a potential radical change in Ukrainian tactics, which might further complicate the mobilization issue inside the country.

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Comments ( 1)
David Steel
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Every man knows he may be called to serve his country one day, to protect his home and family. Many volunteer and do it gladly, it's a duty many feel is reasonable and fair.

Most would refuse to come home whilst their brothers stay and fight without them. You have been invaded and these are extreme circumstances.

If you bring men home before the fight is over the government may be forced to ask for your sons instead. No words can express our sorrow at what you are suffering.

Please don't direct your anger inward towards your leaders. We all know who is responsible for your pain.

Slava Ukraini - Героям слава!

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@David Steel, Well said David!

I do wish the allies would ramp up support. I also wish the other countries including oppressed russians that are presently under putins heel would see this as their existential fight as well. Supporting Ukraine beat Putin, is the best means by which their future generations can know freedom.