Tip Sheets

Ukraine’s mobilization bill sign of ‘desperation’ and ‘rationalization’

Media Contact

Abby Kozlowski

Ukraine parliament passed a bill on Thursday overhauling mobilization rules. It must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky before it becomes law.

David Silbey

Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

David Silbey is an associate professor of history at Cornell University specializing in military history, defense policy and battlefield analysis. 

Silbey says:

 “Ukraine’s recent bill changing the rules of mobilization is both a sign of desperation and one of rationalization. On the desperation side, Ukraine is a much smaller country than Russia, population-wise, with about one-fifth the people. That means that it has much more trouble sustaining the casualties that this kind of industrialized meat grinder war creates. It has to mobilize as many men as possible to sustain its forces fighting in the east. This is the first step in that process.

“On the rationalization side, the Ukrainians need to know who is out there, in terms of manpower. They need to know the ages and jobs of the men they might draft, so that they can make choices that will ensure the most efficient use of manpower. Drafting a man who maintains the Ukrainian railway system just causes that vital system problems while adding only one more (untrained) soldier to the military. Better to leave such an engineer there and draft someone in a less immediately critical job.

“Large industrial wars like this one are as much about organization as they are about fighting, and this is a sign that Ukraine takes that lesson seriously.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.