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Summary of Russia’s war in Ukraine this Wednesday, February 21

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Summary of Russia’s war in Ukraine this Wednesday, February 21

As Russia advances, Ukraine needs more soldiers. But the expansion of compulsory military service is controversial

A small group of women in Kyiv, Ukraine, participated in a protest as the sirens sounded and the city was again under attack with missiles. The women, including Antonina and her 3-year-old son Sasha, pressed on with a sign that read: “Fair deadlines for demobilization.” Antonina’s husband has been serving in a mortar unit near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and has not been home in five months. Mobilization periods are currently indefinite, with no regulatory deadline, causing concern for families. Antonina’s husband, who enlisted as a volunteer two years ago, is now at the point of exhaustion.

Lawmakers in Ukraine are debating reforms to the country’s mobilization rules, and within weeks a new law could be passed that is expected to pave the way for a significant increase in the number of recruits. Ukraine’s labor shortage in the war with Russia is once again high on the agenda.

Before last year’s counteroffensive, Ukraine was confident in reclaiming what they saw as theirs. However, expectations were not met as the Russian defenses proved difficult to defeat and drones came to dominate the battlespace. Russia has increased its troop numbers in the occupied territories by almost a third, according to a London think tank.

Recent news has been getting worse for Kyiv as Moscow’s forces advance in several places along the eastern front. The feeling now is that not only do new soldiers have to step forward, but there also have to be more. The need for more soldiers comes at a time when Ukraine is facing increased pressure from Russian forces.

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