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Ekaterina Blinova
Ekaterina Blinova
Ekaterina Blinova is a freelance journalist and has been a Sputnik contributor since 2014. She has a specialist's degree in history and specialises in US, European, Middle Eastern and Asian politics, international relations, sociology and high tech.

Ukrainian women to be Zelensky’s new cannon fodder

Ukrainian army news
Image – © Ukrainian Defence ministry press-service.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have decided to draft more women following sustained losses over 20 months of the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted legislation to the country’s Verkhovna Rada – the parliament – extending martial law and general mobilization in the country for another 90 days starting from November 16 this Tuesday.

The move comes as the Kiev regime is struggling to increase the number of troops in the nation’s army after the botched summer counteroffensive claimed the lives of over 90,000 soldiers.

A general mobilization in Ukraine was announced immediately after the beginning of Russia’s special military operation on February 24, 2022. Under the law, military reservists between the ages of 18 and 60 have been eligible for conscription.

In September 2023, Kiev called upon EU member states to deport alleged Ukrainian “draft dodgers” – something which European countries have largely refused to do so far – while in August, Zelensky ordered a full review of all mobilization exemptions granted by Military Medical Commissions (MMCs) starting from February 24, 2022. It was earlier reported that those Ukrainians who did not want to fight gave hefty bribes to MMC officials to get fraudulent passes.

In the course of the conflict, reports and video-evidence have emerged showing Ukrainian men being forcibly grabbed by conscription officers in various part of the country. Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) report that morale is low and that many conscripts are pushed to the frontline as “cannon fodder”, without proper training, protection or ammo.

Meanwhile, a US newspaper has drawn attention to the Kiev regime’s effort to fill its soldier gap by mobilizing more Ukrainian women.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, roughly 43,000 women now serve in the nation’s armed forces which constitute a staggering 40% increase since 2021. Accordingly, the Ukrainian military canceled restrictions which prevented female recruits from serving as machine gunners, tank commanders, snipers and truck drivers. It also raised the age limit for women eligible for conscription from 40 to 60.

The newspaper noted that while the Ukrainian Army’s decision to draw more women and lift restrictions is “a step towards equality”, it “also reflects the tremendous toll” the Ukraine conflict has exacted.

In fact, female recruits are no news for modern armies.

Around 40,000 Russian women serve in the country’s Armed Forces. Of these, roughly 5,000 are officers, including 44 colonels. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 1,100 Russian military servicewomen are directly involved in the special military operation in Ukraine; a third of whom have received state awards.

When it comes to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), women make up 33% of soldiers and 51% of its currently serving officers. Prior to Israel’s massive operation against Gaza, which brought together around 360,000 reservists of both genders, around 10,000 women served in the IDF in permanent service.

Per the US Department of Defense, women make up 17.3% of the active-duty forces in the US Armed Forces (231,741 servicewomen) and women also constitute 21.4% of the National Guard and reserves (171,000).

However, the problem with Ukrainian female recruits is not the quantitative increase in the number to fill the existing gaps, but the dire situation at the front that may quickly turn them into cannon fodder.

Most recently, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Gen. Valery Zaluzhny gave an extensive interview to a British newspaper arguing that the much discussed Ukrainian counteroffensive had stalled and one should not expect a “breakthrough” in the near future.

Sputnik’s interlocutors earlier referred to a long-standing conflict between Zaluzhny and Zelensky: while the former is striving to save the Ukrainian Army, take a pause and prepare for a spring offensive, the latter is insisting on the necessity to proceed with the combat operations at all costs.

The Zelensky office subjected Zaluzhny to sharp criticism over the top general’s “stalemate” interview. Apparently coincidentally, a close aide of Zaluzhny was killed by a grenade blast on November 6.

With the battlefield situation stalling for Kiev, US media’s reported concerns over Ukraine’s increased female conscription to frontline positions as a solution to the toll the conflict has exacted on its troops sits in stark contrast with its efforts to derail, neglect and even mock the Russo-Ukrainian Istanbul peace talks in March 2022 which could have halted hostilities immediately.

At that time, Western politicians and media called for the conflict to be resolved on the battlefield by bleeding Russia white – a battlefield scenario which has fallen short of their expectations.

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5 COMMENTS

    • Yes. When the Allies were in Berlin in early 1945, the Nazis started to grab children, give them garden tools (pitchforks and so on) and ordered them to defend Berlin. Not long after, Hitler was dead.

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