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Calling up reserves without announcing mobilization: why does Ukraine need it

On February 4, 2021, the draft law No. 3553 on the call of reservists without announcing mobilization was to be put to a vote in the Verkhovna Rada. In addition to the mechanism for falling in the operational reserve of the first stage, it prescribes changes to the local bodies of military command—the reform of military registration and enlistment offices. The project also regulates the maintenance of electronic records of persons liable for military service. And the creation of a network of centers that combine work with persons liable for military service and social support, so as not to produce structures for 370,000 participants in hostilities.

Blood paid experience

Ukraine has been creating a unified electronic register since June 2019, although now it is planned to combine open and closed state databases with lists of reservists into a single whole. Probably, the lessons of at least three failed waves of mobilization were useful.

But the main goal of №3553 is by the decree of the National Security and Defense Council, without the Verkhovna Rada, quickly fall in a maximum of trained battlewise fighters with combat experience within 24 hours. The reason, in principle, lies on the surface—there were many key votes on which the IMF tranche or the allocation of EU macroeconomic assistance depended.

But there were enough votes for them and everything dragged on for weeks—the President came to the hall, Joe Biden flew in, "helped" to form a coalition, the deputies repeatedly failed key laws on land reform or on the gas market.

Everyone also remembers the famous meeting of the Kerch Crisis times. When it was known for sure that the Russians were working on Ukrainian courts and we had wounded soldiers. But politicians continued the duty circus for their constituents. Tymoshenko "suspected the artificiality of martial law," there were questions from the rostrum whether pensions and other social benefits would be paid, a rumor about usurpation was all over the news.

But issuing a decree, adopting a law on the next mobilization by the Verkhovna Rada and signing it is only the first stage. Further, there should be the call itself, when for a dozen sent out draft cards and phone calls it is possible to call one reservist—someone is abroad, someone has changed a rented apartment, someone no longer passes because of health. After that—the training center and team building.

Martial law

In general, there can be 3-4 weeks between a political decision and implementation. Therefore, the calling up directly to brigades for 15 days was worked out—veterans who received combat experience went directly to their units.

It worked out for almost 40,000 people to be fallen in. But, if we remember that beyond the 417 km of the line of combat contact we still have hundreds of kilometers of coastline and the border with the Russian Federation that is poorly covered in engineering terms, then this amount no longer seems large.

And the Verkhovna Rada, during the introduction of martial law, had to work continuously in a session mode—to revise laws related to defense and security. But people's deputies didn't care much about that and worked in a comfortable plenary regime. Having passed as many as two draft laws in the field of defense in 30 days.

In general, the results were not great. The NSDC decision "Following the introduction of martial law in Ukraine" was classified, and the draft law was registered back in May 2020. Relying on the very decisions of the NSDC and the presidential decree. It is likely that there were conclusions and a "work on errors" was planned.

Runaround under the circus dome

But things are still there. Soon it will be a year, as the law approved by the President as urgent and urgent, the Verkhovna Rada had not bothered to consider. But the issue of calling up a reserve and replenishing units to a full staff is a strategically important issue in our conditions. Now the contact line in the JFO is held by nine Ukrainian combined-arms brigades—seven motorized and mechanized and two artillery. And in the case of an aggravation, Ukraine will need to provide coastal defense, cover the isthmus on the border with Crimea, a strip north of the JFO zone in the direction of Kharkiv and Polissia.

At the same time, in the JFO itself there are places that are operationally important—for example, in the south, the enemy can threaten Volnovakha that is responsible for the supply of Mariupol, we may easiy reach Novoazovsk within 48 hours. The outskirts of Donetsk, Avdiivka, and Horlivka will also require additional resources. The exit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces tankers to the Putilovsky Bridge, the attempt to storm Maryinka or the massive shelling of the Avdiivka Coke Plant of the Almaz times are good examples when not so long ago everything was balanced on several companies of tanks or batteries of "Hurricanes".

In these conditions, it will be impossible for both sides to build a solid front line outside the "red" zone—the spaces are too large, there are too few high-readiness troops. Confrontation is possible only in the format of chains of strongholds, mobile groups, skirmishes over intersections, isolation of garrisons. A maneuver war a la 1918, with battles for transport junctions, railway junctions, access to the operational space, separation from the centralized supply.

In a conflict of this kind, the rapid falling in of reservists directly to the "native" brigades and the deployment of cadre units in the form of a Reserve Corps can become the line between victory and defeat. Again, the very possibility of covert mobilization by a secret decree of the NSDC, and not a talkfest in the Verkhovna Rada, will be an excellent lever of influence on hotheads in the unrecognized "republics."

But, unfortunately, all this drags on over and over. No votes were cast on the draft last Thursday. Despite the fact that the front again begins to rumble with large calibers. We hope that reason will win and that the law will be adopted as soon as possible. For it is needed for yesterday.

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