Ukraine makes efforts to increase number of soldiers – far from being left without an army

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Although it faces a shortage of soldiers in certain areas, Ukraine is not left without an Army. It is only now, in 2024, that Ukraine has adopted a practice Russia had already implemented: allowing prisoners to join the army


We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook sharing inserts from the series “Servant to the People” starring the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy before he took up the PresidencyThe post says the following: 

Zelenskyy is left without people (without an Army). Just like the prophecy in his television show… Hey, people! 

Although there is a shortage of soldiers, it is not true that Zelenskyy was left without an Army. Efforts are made to redeploy and increase the number of mobilized soldiers as is the case in any war. Subsequently, Ukraine lowered the draft age from 27 to 25 years, efforts are made to catch those avoiding mobilization, and consular services for men of mobilization age living abroad are suspended. 

Recently, the President of Ukraine, Zelenskyy endorsed the law that allows some of the prisoners to become part of the armed forces provided they were not convicted for crimes against the state, thereby enabling them to be drafted into the Army and to be paroled. Approximately 10 to 20 thousand inmates are targeted with his law, all of whom can be drafted to serve in special units in the future. As specified by the New York Times, since the beginning of the military invasion, Russia has been using this tactic to reinforce its armed forces. Now Ukraine has introduced such an opportunity. 

Before adopting the law, Deputy Minister of Justice Olena Vysotskа stated that the research conducted in April indicated that approximately 4 and a half thousand inmates had agreed to go to the front and substitute their sentence with parole. 

Ukraine’s shortage of soldiers became evident when Russia started a new offensive in the Northeastern part of the country last week, reported the New York Times. The attacks put the Army of Ukraine in a situation to have to redeploy troops from other sides of the front and deploy reserve soldiers. Ukrainian authorities claim that they made the situation in the Northeast stable, but the fact that additional troops were redeployed there constituted a risk of weakening other parts of the front where Russia is also attacking, explained the newspaper. 

On the 14th of May, the General of the Ukrainian Army Kyrylo Budanov stated that he believed that the Russian attacks on the Northeast aimed at spreading the Ukrainian reserve soldiers “thin” so as to redirect them to other places. 

Not only is Ukraine not left without soldiers, but volunteers are also helping the Army. 

At the end of 2023, official Ukrainian Army personnel explained that they were facing smaller numbers of soldiers in certain areas. Then, Major Oleksandr Volkov, platoon commander, stated that young people under 40 years old needed to be motivated. 

According to the 2003 data of Euronews from the Global Firepower, the Ukrainian Army had 500 thousand soldiers, out of whom 200 thousand were active military personnel, while Russia had 4 times bigger numbers of military personnel – 1,330,900 men and 250 thousand reservists. 

Due to all of the above-noted facts, the post fact-checked is assessed as untrue. Ukraine is not left without an army (it has 500 thousand soldiers, out of whom 200 thousand were active military personnel), although it faces a shortage of soldiers in certain areas.