Former UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has called on Ukraine to ramp up its mobilization efforts in order to secure victory in its counteroffensive against Russia. While acknowledging that Ukrainian forces have been adapting their tactics and making the best use of equipment provided by the West, Wallace argues that to maintain momentum and achieve success, President Vladimir Zelensky must deploy more and younger soldiers into battle.
Throughout the summer, Ukraine’s forces have faced significant hurdles in their attempts to make territorial gains against Russia. Russian defenses, including minefields, heavy artillery, and swarms of drones, have hindered Ukraine’s progress. The toll has been heavy, with over 83,000 Ukrainian servicemen killed since the start of the counteroffensive, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Despite the challenges, Wallace believes that Ukrainian forces have shown steady improvement. He refers to Ukraine as a “battle lab” and highlights the importance of learning from experience and adapting tactics. However, he also emphasizes the need for a larger mobilization effort, pointing out that the average age of soldiers on the frontlines is over 40. While recognizing President Zelensky’s desire to preserve the young population for the future, Wallace suggests that it may be necessary to reassess the scale of Ukraine’s mobilization, echoing the actions of Britain during World War II.
The Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, has criticized Ukraine for its approach, arguing that heavy casualties are the result of senseless assaults and slaughter. He accuses the West and their allies in Kiev of pushing Ukraine towards self-destruction.
Wallace’s call for increased mobilization comes at a time when Ukraine has faced challenges in its conscription process. Scandals involving conscription chiefs have prompted President Zelensky to fire all regional draft heads in an attempt to address the issue. The Ukrainian government has also relaxed eligibility standards for recruits, allowing people with certain mental and physical conditions to serve. Additionally, women in specific medical professions have been ordered to register for possible enrollment.
In contrast, Russia has no plans for mobilization as its current needs are met by career military service members. President Vladimir Putin recently reported that 300,000 people had enrolled in the Russian army this year alone.
Wallace concludes his statement by emphasizing the importance of the West’s response to the conflict. He states that the world is watching to see if the West has the resolve to stand up for its values and the rules-based system. He believes that the actions taken now for Ukraine will shape the direction of global security for years to come.
Overall, Wallace’s call for increased mobilization reflects the ongoing challenges faced by Ukraine in its counteroffensive against Russia. He highlights the need for Ukraine to reassess its military strategy and deploy more soldiers to secure victory.