Cooks and drivers fill frontline gaps amid troop shortage - military expert

Soldiers of the 93rd Kholodnyi Yar Brigade, Donetsk Oblast, March 2024
Soldiers of the 93rd Kholodnyi Yar Brigade, Donetsk Oblast, March 2024

Ukrainian soldiers, regardless of their original roles, are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines due to acute personnel shortages, not because of any failure in leadership, military expert Yevhen Dykyi explained on Radio NV on April 2.

Dykyi highlighted the gravity of the situation, noting that support staff, including cooks and drivers, are being deployed to trenches because military units are operating with a fraction of their required strength.

"When a brigade's numbers fall below 30% of its standard, it's put on rotation. And if a brigade has around 40% strength, it's expected to continue holding its position, often stretching to cover 30 kilometers of the front," Dykyi said.

This strategy of utilizing non-combat personnel in combat roles is a direct response to the significant shortfall in troops, emphasizing that it's a matter of necessity rather than poor judgment by military leaders.

The conversation around mobilization reflects the urgency of the situation. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in December 2023, mentioned a potential call for 450,000 to 500,000 additional troops, an initiative met with varied responses from military officials. While former Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi didn't specify a number, the current commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, later stated the actual requirement for troop rotations at the front is much lower.

Read also: Mobilization law delay exposes government's glaring inefficiency, Ukrainian political analyst argues

As the Ukrainian parliament deliberates on a mobilization bill to streamline conscription during martial law, the country's military continues to navigate the challenges posed by a pressing shortage of soldiers.

Problems with the lack of Ukrainian soldiers at the front

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in December 2023 that Ukraine's military leadership had requested the mobilization of an additional 450,000-500,000 people, which would cost 500 billion hryvnias ($12.7 billion).

The then Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi said afterwards that the military "did not make a separate request for numbers."

Zelenskyy said in January 2024 that he saw no need to conscript half a million people.

The new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said that there was no need to mobilize 500,000 people for unit rotations at the front, and that this number had been significantly reduced.

Read also: Defense Committee prepares mobilization bill for second reading

The Ukrainian parliament has been considering the mobilization bill, which should regulate the legislation on conscription during martial law since Jan. 30.

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine