World

Russia pushes northeast as Ukraine plans to extend military draft

February 22, 2024
A Russian Su-25 warplane is seen from the cockpit of another such aircraft as they fire rockets on a mission over Ukraine
A Russian Su-25 warplane is seen from the cockpit of another such aircraft as they fire rockets on a mission over Ukraine

KYIV — Russian forces are probing Ukrainian defences for weak points in the country’s northeast, an official said on Thursday.

This is an area where analysts believe the Kremlin seeks to build on its recent success in taking the strategically important eastern city of Adviika, possibly by mounting an ambitious four-pronged offensive to break through the front line.

Russia overwhelmed Ukraine’s army in Adviidka with a significant battlefield advantage in men, aircraft and artillery.

Emboldened by its first major triumph in the war in nine months, Moscow appears determined to leverage its superiority as it shifts its economy onto a war footing.

The UN’s humanitarian appeal to meet needs in Ukraine is only 10% funded for 2024, the country’s resident coordinator said on Wednesday, putting in jeopardy crucial assistance needed to reach those in need across frontline areas.

Denise Brown, the UN’s top representative in Ukraine, said an estimated 8.5 million Ukrainians living in dire conditions near combat zones risk going without basic humanitarian deliveries, including food and water.

The UN's annual appeal for Ukraine is €2.8 billion.

“If we don’t receive that money, I don’t know where that money is going to come from,” Brown told The Associated Press in an interview. Without the funds, “we won’t be able to sustain the high number of colleagues that we have here who are absolutely dedicated to humanitarian support."

When the Russian army mounted its full-scale invasion two years ago, Ukrainian men rushed to recruitment centres across the country to enlist, ready to die in defence of their nation.

Today, with Russia in control of roughly one-quarter of Ukraine and the two armies virtually deadlocked, that spirit has faded.

With many Ukrainian men are evading the draft by hiding at home or trying to bribe their way out of the battle, the parliament in Kyiv is is considering legislation that would increase the potential pool of recruits by about 400,000, in part by lowering the enlistment age from 27 to 25.

But the proposal is highly unpopular.

The lack of soldiers isn’t Ukraine’s only predicament; it is also desperate for Western military aid, which has been harder to come by as the war drags on. But mobilising enough soldiers is a problem only Ukraine can solve. — Euronews


February 22, 2024
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