There are fewer people signing up to train in the operation of Leopard 2 tanks, the German paper reports
The Ukrainian Armed Forces are reportedly experiencing a shortage of personnel to train in the operation of Leopard 2 tanks, according to a report by Die Welt’s correspondent in Kiev, Paul Ronzheimer.
It follows an announcement on Tuesday by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine had requested to mobilize an additional 450,000 to 500,000 people. Some lawmakers have even proposed drafting women if deemed necessary.
Kiev’s forces have been suffering heavy casualties amid the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, with Russia’s Defense Ministry revealing earlier this week that the Ukrainian Army had lost nearly 400,000 troops since February 2022.
In his report, Ronzheimer noted that Kiev’s plans to mobilize half a million people had caused “shock” among Ukrainians and demonstrated how “difficult the situation is for Ukraine.”
The journalist noted that Ukraine’s shortage of troops and difficulties mobilizing additional forces are problems that have existed for a long time. As one example of these long-standing issues, Ronzheimer pointed out that training centers in Germany for teaching Ukrainian soldiers to operate Leopard 2 tanks are currently operating at half capacity.
“This means that at the moment there are not enough people for training, and if this war lasts longer, it will naturally cause problems. Because in the end everything depends on how many soldiers each side has at its disposal,” Ronzheimer said.
Ukraine has carried out multiple waves of mobilization since 2014, and officially declared martial law following the launch of Russia’s military operation in the country last year. However, Kiev’s mobilization efforts have been hampered by widespread corruption, which prompted Zelensky to fire the heads of all regional draft offices in August.
Additionally, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of draft-dodgers have either left the country or have gone into hiding from military recruiters.
In a Facebook poll posted by Ukrainian MP Mariana Bezuglaya on Monday, an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians also stated that they would be willing to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid being drafted into the military. Out of some 4,300 men who took part in the poll, 73% said keeping a Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk. Of the 3,800 women who responded to a similar question, 65% said they wouldn’t risk their lives for their citizenship.
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