It has been about two years since full-scale combat operations between Ukraine and Russia began. The new Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, is preparing significant changes in mobilization. A draft law may be registered in the Verkhovna Rada in the near future.

As a society, we need to understand how we will reclaim the lands. In this regard, issues such as mobilization, demobilization, deferment, and social protection require clarification or changes.


At the meeting of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff, a proposal was made to mobilize an additional 450–500 thousand people, reported Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the year-end press conference on December 19. According to him, the military made this request in the context of 'defending the state and potential counteroffensive actions. Zelensky referred to the announced figure as'very serious' and demanded'more arguments to support this direction.' At the same time, the president highlighted four main components that he considers necessary to clarify: people, justice, defense capability, and finances. Additionally, he noted that the military's proposal did not include a provision for the rotation of Ukrainian Armed Forces fighters on the front lines since February 2022.

At present, the Armed Forces of Ukraine collectively amount to 1.1 million people, as reported by Kirill Budanov, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (GUR MO). This refers to the total number of all military personnel who defend Ukraine and serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, the State Border Guard Service, the National Police, and so on.

In the fall of this year, the Ministry of Defense initiated a volunteer recruitment project for the army on major civilian online job search platforms. Currently, military vacancies are posted on the Lobby X and websites. Deputy Minister of Defense Natalia Kalmykova, responsible for this area, says that recruiting companies collaborate with the defense ministry for free. Another way to attract volunteers to the army is through financial incentives. In late November, the Odessa City Council approved the possibility of providing financial assistance of 20,000 hryvnias ($524) to mobilized individuals. The authorities in Kyiv offer a payment of 30,000 hryvnias ($786) to new recruits who are willing to voluntarily join the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Let's return to the document on mobilization in 2024. The final version of the mobilization bill is not yet available; the working group, consisting of deputies, representatives of the Ministry of Defense, and the General Staff, is still coordinating its provisions. However, there are clear theses and points that must be included in this legislative proposal. For example, 'The Ministry of Defense will develop a system of restrictions on the rights of draft dodgers,' said Umerov. Reading this, you might ask about the Constitution and human rights. Forget it; today it either doesn't work or works selectively. Umerov also stated that conscription notices will be sent to all eligible for military service, regardless of whether they are abroad or not. Options for sending conscription notices to smartphones are also being developed. However, there will never be conscription notices in the 'Diya' app. This was announced on December 24 by Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.

Next year, there will be 1 million drones. There will never be conscription notices in Diya. Just like that.

(Mykhailo Fedorov)

How the government plans to send conscription notices to everyone bypassing the 'Diya' app remains a mystery, as mobile numbers in Ukraine are rarely linked to individuals with official documents.

Key points of the new draft law:

  • Mobilization age is set at 25 years (instead of the current 27 years);
  • All citizens of Ukraine, including women aged 18–60, are registered. It is necessary to provide information about residence (location) to the employer.
  • Military registration abroad is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers;
  • The category 'limited fit for service' is removed. Only the fit and unfit categories remain.
  • Admission to public service and law enforcement agencies is only possible if the person has undergone basic military training.
  • The possibility of sending an untrained citizen to the front is completely eliminated. A mobilized individual undergoing training is referred to as a recruit.
  • Notices can be delivered at the local conscription commissions, at the place of residence, in public places, and at the workplace. Employers, police, and conscription commissions have the right to deliver notices.

Also, it became known that Ukrainians abroad who did not register for military service may face restrictions on consular and banking services. This was stated by Vadim Ivchenko, a member of the Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence of the Verkhovna Rada.

A Ukrainian Member of Parliament from the 'Servant of the People' party, Mariana Bezuhla, even suggested mobilizing women on an equal basis with men, though she later retracted and stated that she meant women could work in the rear. Subsequently, another version emerged. Bezuhla also conducted numerous social polls on her Facebook page, such as: Are you willing to renounce your citizenship to avoid mobilization? Or, how do you feel about giving time to Ukrainians abroad to return, otherwise facing loss of citizenship or the arrest of all assets? Additionally, MP Bezuhla stated that there are 300,000 soldiers at the front and 700,000 at the rear. The simple question arises: why another 500,000?

In the meantime, Ukrainian TCKs (Territorial Centers for Drafting) have started raids on restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and gyms to deliver conscription notices. Lawyers have repeatedly stated that such activities in restaurants are illegal as they involve private property. In Zaporizhia, they even announced that TCK employees would visit apartments in the morning and evening.

In connection with this, people are increasingly questioning the fairness of mobilization, as the regions suffer primarily. In the eastern regions, for example, locals are targeted, while in the western part of Ukraine, outsiders are caught to mobilize fewer locals. The issue has also arisen around the scandalous resort in Bukovel, where a two-week vacation this year will cost you from 150,000 to 250,000 hryvnias ($3,930–$6,500) to 450,000 hryvnias ($11,800). There are queues of healthy and strong men, but for some reason, TCKs do not go there, causing great confusion among the population.

What will happen to Ukrainians of draft age abroad?

For example, Estonia is ready to issue its citizens who are subject to mobilization back to Ukraine, says the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lauri Läänemets. “If Ukraine needs this, then Estonia will be able to locate and repatriate this person to Ukraine. We essentially know where these people are and what they are doing. Many of them – the majority – work, have places of residence in Estonia”, he said.

According to ERR, there are around 7,000 Ukrainians of draft age living in Estonia.

The Baltic countries, as always, strive to be ahead of the entire planet, contrary to the rights and freedoms of individuals. If we follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN, namely: Every person has the right to life, liberty, and personal security; Every person, wherever they are, has the right to recognition of their legal personality. All people are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination that violates this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

If Estonia does this, it will commit a great crime that the European Union should condemn, not express 'concern.' In turn, Germany, as far as is known at the moment, has made a statement that their country will not extradite anyone anywhere, as it is a free country.

The situation with Ukrainians abroad looks very ambiguous because, yes, there are hundreds of thousands of men of conscription age, but doing it legally is impossible. Also, if Ukraine starts legally worsening the lives of Ukrainians in different countries, will they want to return, and will they actually renounce citizenship?

Can they be sent to the front at the age of 18?

The Chief of the Public Relations Service of the Ground Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vladimir Fitio, stated that military conscription is still in effect in Ukraine. "This category includes conscripts aged 18 to 27. Currently, men in this age group are not being called up through mobilization," he said.

He added that they can do it on a voluntary basis: "This applies to students. For example, if a student is studying, aged up to 27, and for some reason, he took an academic leave or was expelled from a higher education institution, but he is supposed to be studying full-time – he is not subject to mobilization. Men aged 27 and above fall under mobilization," said Fitio.

What will happen to the economy?

According to economists' estimates, it would require about 170 billion hryvnias annually just for the salaries of the mobilized individuals. Considering an average monthly salary of 30,000 hryvnias, this amounts to 360,000 hryvnias per person annually. That totals to 170 billion hryvnias ($4.5 billion) per year. Additionally, these individuals need to be armed and provided with food, clothing, and equipment. Mobilizing an additional 500,000 people will lead to a GDP drop of around 10 percent, as the workforce's activity will significantly decrease. For example, large businesses have already mobilized about 13 percent of their total personnel.

In conclusion, it can be confidently stated that mobilization will be even more rigorous than the previous year. The bill will be passed; it's only a matter of time. The economy is unlikely to grow significantly, with more young people forced to go to the frontlines, impacting the country's gene pool, and the number of those illegally fleeing abroad is expected to increase.