Ukraine Brings Back Conscription, Eying War With Protesters

Elected Govt Had Ended Draft Just Weeks Before Ouster

2014 was supposed to mark the end of mandatory conscription in the Ukraine, and the elected government stopped the practice at the beginning of the year, just weeks before NATO-backed protesters forced them from power.

With the takeover of the central government came new protests against the new regime, and the interim government announced today it is bringing conscription back in a big way, with an eye on the military reconquest of the east.

Interim President Oleksandr Turchinov, who has vowed to have the military “liquidate” the eastern protesters, issued a decree today seeking the conscription of all 18-25-year-olds to defend Ukraine’s “territorial integrity.”

Between outdated equipment and low morale, Ukraine’s military has so far been unable to take over even comparatively small protester-held cities like Sloyvansk. Though the draft could bring the number of troops from 130,000 to 1,000,000 in fairly short order, the draftees are unlikely to be any more willing to open fire on civilian protesters, and will make the equipment shortages even more dramatic.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.