What’s the truth about Ukraine’s ‘one million soldiers’?

By Svitlana Morenets July 11

‘We have learned overnight that Ukraine has now amassed a one million strong fighting force […] equipped with western weapons,’ saidthe BBC this morning. But is this really the case? Headlines announcing ‘one million ready for fightback to recapture south’ come from a misinterpretation of comments given by Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, to the Times. So what’s the real story?

In a way, it’s a basic one: Ukraine is at war, so the number involved in security has quadrupled to almost a million. ‘We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces,’ Reznikov said – but he means that is the amount mobilised to the military. Then come 60,000 border guards, 90,000 national guards and up to 100,000 police: so almost one million in all.

But this million-strong force is not (as the headlines suggest) about to start the battle for the south. There are other borders to defend: with Belarus (670 miles) with Russia (1,240 miles) by land and the sea (200 miles). The days of highly-motivated volunteers queueing to join the military are coming to an end. Ukrainian men now are being stopped in the street, in restaurants, or even churches by military commissars handing out summonses.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence would like to have a million people fighting to save the south of the country. There might be an all-out offensive to reclaim captured land in the region, but it’s not coming yet.

Svitlana Morenets is a Ukrainian journalist and refugee now working at The Spectator. Sign up for her weekly Ukraine in Focus newsletter here.

12 comments

  1. With a gigantic nazi power like putlerstan committing genocide on your land, you can never have enough military. Contrary to reports, there is no shortage of dirt poor savages in putlerstan willing to sign up to murder Ukrainians, so Ukraine still needs many more defenders. I said before they need a minimum of 600,000 combat troops with the same number in reserves and support. I was wrong : double it. Ukraine has a vast diaspora in Canada, the US, and elsewhere. Time for all with military training to help the homeland. Employers should agree to hold their jobs open for them.
    The EU should pay for a division of mercs. They can do it secretly by using brokers.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well, just the other week, a friend in Kyiv told me that people are still lining up to serve, so, I don’t know what Svitlana Morenets is trying to say with “The days of highly-motivated volunteers queueing to join the military are coming to an end.”
    Of course, you always have those individuals who don’t have a sense of duty or patriotism. We have much more than enough here, too, and across the West.
    BTW, Reznikov never said that these million men are solely for the south, but said for the fight against Russian forces.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They don’t have enough combat troops facts, as I have been saying for a while. The true numbers are a secret, but it’s thought to be 300,000, when they need twice that. I think the guy in the video alluded to that. Of course there is no shortage of brave men and women willing to fight, but that’s different from trained fighters. In the town of Voskresenske, everyone pulled together to help the army defeat the orcs. It’s a story that may be made into a movie one day; I hope.
      The population is thought to be 43m; no one knows for sure. But many millions are inaccessible. Probably those from Donbas that wanted to fight already volunteered.
      Many men of fighting age did in fact get over the border. They simply ran over at the Moldova crossings and shouted “asylum!” Obviously the border guards can’t shoot them. That loophole has now been closed though.
      When this terrible Holocaust is finally over, there will be a lot of bitterness at those who refused to join up. In villages, towns and cities, many young men simply are waiting it out.
      The authorities have (so far) chosen not to knock on doors and round people up, but I think they might have to soon. Plus they might be considering amnesty for certain criminals currently locked up.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I go by what the people I know are telling me. I’m too far away to make a judgement about this, and any news report must be taken with a grain of salt.

        Liked by 2 people

        • None of the info I gave you is from news sites. It’s gleaned from the 20 or so contacts I have still inside the country; including the armed forces. So it’s pretty reliable. As is what the girl writes in the Spectator piece.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I’ve heard many, many times that Ukraine has more than enough volunteers. This is not the problem, Scradge. It really isn’t. The problem is that these people must be trained. You simply can’t send these people off to war with no or minimal training. They would not be soldiers, they would be meat puppets.
            Basic training usually lasts 8 to 10 weeks. That’s only basic training, mind you. Then, you must go through advanced combat training or whatever (armor, artillery, medical, communication, logistics, etc.) This takes several weeks to several months. That’s not all. Who is supposed to train 100,000, 500,000 or 1,000,000 men and women? That’s a huge task. Furthermore, you need the necessary gear to equip them. That’s another huge task. Then, when all is said and done, these guys and gals go to a unit and there they’re still greenhorns. Another problem is the one mentioned earlier; who should do the training and teaching? You need experienced soldiers to teach, and each one who is in a training base is missing on the front. That’s not an easy choice to make. This is a humongous effort, especially in times of a full-blown war.

            Liked by 2 people

            • They don’t have enough volunteers facts. They have c.300,000 combat troops; battle-hardened from 8 years in Donbas. That is way more than any army in Europe. But it’s not enough. I originally thought 600,000 would be enough, but I now realise they’ve got to go for 1m, which as you say takes a hell of a time, plus the same number in support; there’s no other choice.
              But to win this war, they have got to rely on their existing combat troops plus territorial support, plus the new volunteers and the foreign legion.
              What I can tell you is that some of the cream of Ukrainian professionals in fields like IT, marketing, advertising, accountancy, architects, engineering etc have already put their lives on hold to help their country. I don’t know the total number in the territorial support battalions, but it’s quite a lot and of course some will have to experience combat sooner or later.
              We must hope that shitloads of HIMARS are deployed and the putinazis don’t find any countermeasures, because this is the most crucial time. Somehow Biden and Boris’s successor* must grit their teeth and give more.
              *If it’s Liz or Penny, no problem. Rishi Sunak though appears to be the favourite at present and he hadn’t said much about Ukraine so far.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Once, a couple of months ago, I read a report in which it said that Ukraine has 6,000,000 volunteers. I can’t find it anymore, unfortunately. Naturally, I don’t know how much truth is in this assertion. At any rate, I keep haring that they have enough, whatever this amount is, I have no idea. Not even my good friend knows, and he’s an SBU colonel.
                At any rate, you are absolutely right … that Ukraine needs more combat troops. If only they would get more heavy weapons and aircraft! That would help to level the field some for Ukraine. They’ve already got superior troops. Superior weapons and enough of them would be great!

                Liked by 2 people

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