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Verkhovna Rada passes controversial law on mobilization in Ukraine

According to the broadcast of the session, 283 deputies voted for the bill, 21 voted against and 15 abstained

MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) has adopted in the second and final reading a law tightening the rules for mobilization in Ukraine, which earlier caused quite an uproar among the public.

According to the broadcast of the session, 283 deputies voted for the bill, 21 voted against and 15 abstained. Thus, the law was passed by a simple majority.

The law provides for stricter rules around the mobilization procedure, including penalties for evasion as well as clarification of the categories of individuals subject to mobilization. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are expected to be mobilized. The Strana weekly estimated that Ukraine could mobilize as many as 700,000 people. Earlier, the authorities said that it was necessary to mobilize about 500,000 people, although they later backtracked on this number.

The law will now go to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for signing, after which it will be officially published. As lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak reported earlier, the law will go into effect one month after its publication.

Main provisions

There was some intrigue around the document as the text of the law adopted in the second and final reading was not published and its exact content was kept under wraps. The main provisions, including amendments and changes, were disseminated to the media by lawmakers.

The law includes a provision to lower the mobilization age from 27 to 25, but a separate law containing this provision was signed by Zelensky earlier in April.

The new draft law stipulates that a summons to serve in the military is considered delivered even if the attempt to deliver it is unsuccessful. The date of "delivery" for the summons will be the day when it is proven that it is impossible to deliver it to the addressee, or 10 days after that.

Evaders are subject to restrictions on driving vehicles. Consular services will also be restricted to Ukrainians between the ages of 18 and 60 who cannot produce military registration documents. Ukrainians who own more than one car may be forced to forfeit their automobiles as part of the so-called mobilization of vehicles.

Amendments on demobilization and rotation, which provide for demobilization of servicemen after 36 months of service, including 18 months on the front line, were excluded from the law. Ukrainian mass media reported that leaving the demobilization clause out of the document was the idea of Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Alexander Syrsky, who wrote a letter to this effect to Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. Stipulations about additional payments to servicemen on the front line are also absent from the bill.

Long discussion

The law on mobilization has faced intense scrutiny. Since the end of 2023, both Ukrainian and Western media outlets have been writing about the acute shortage of people on the front line, forcing the Ukrainian military to leave more and more positions. Still, the law was not adopted during this time. US Senator Lindsey Graham (listed as a terrorist and extremist in Russia) said the tougher mobilization rules were directly linked to the allocation of new US military aid.

That said, the law on mobilization was submitted to the Rada only at the end of December 2023, after several months of discussion in parliamentary committees. On January 10, 2024, it was sent for revision and reintroduced on January 30. On February 7, the parliament adopted it in the first reading, after which deputies proposed over 4,000 amendments to the text. They have been under consideration for more than two months.

Zelensky himself, who has repeatedly been accused of losing patience with the Verkhovna Rada, accused lawmakers late last week of delaying the bill's consideration and demanded that it be passed in the coming days. He also acknowledged that the Rada's delay in stepping up mobilization had led the West to question the need for continued support for Kiev. In this context, the president regularly assured his partners that, despite the difficulties, parliament would vote in favor of the necessary changes.