War in Ukraine


Ukraine draft campaign battles waning zeal to fight

STORY: "We don't use force, we don't twist anyone's arm or force them into minivans. We're against these methods, I'm against them."This combat veteran, who goes by the callsign Fantomas, is waging a different kind of battle on the streets of Kyiv - to replenish troop numbers.He says men are less eager to fight than before, 28 months after Russia's invasion. There's a queue outside the local draft office. But men under 60 now have to register or renew their personal data at draft offices or online by July 16, and draft officials say they've struggled with a sudden influx. "People used to wait for weeks to get the chance to join the army. Now, as far as I know, most of the queues are people who want to obtain some sort of exemption."Reuters accompanied the draft officer on a recent patrol. As he handed out call-up papers, one man slipped into a nearby store and another refused to stop.Others quietly obliged. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy lowered the draft age to 25 from 27 in April and overhauled the mobilization process. And there are signs the drive is working. Recruitment numbers are shrouded in wartime secrecy.But the Ukrainian military told Reuters in a statement conscription more than doubled in May and June compared to the previous two months, without providing figures.Many weary troops are desperate to be replaced after more than two years of almost non-stop service."You're needed, replace us. There are those who react positively, I'd say up to 70 percent of the time. I don't even have to explain anything to them. They understand that nobody else will do this (join the Ukrainian military) except for themselves. Nobody else."In an April survey commissioned by a state broadcaster, about half of Ukrainians thought mobilization was going poorly, and 60% had a negative view of draft offices.Though strengthened by long-delayed Western aid, Ukraine's forces have struggled for months to hold the line against Russian troops, who are inching forward in the east.
  • 02:10
  • 00:30
  • 00:58
  • 02:29
  • 00:52
  • 00:56
  • 00:36
  • 02:00
  • 01:00
  • 00:32



More Latest

View More Latest