Fewer exceptions, more campaigns: Ukraine is looking for recruits

Fewer exceptions, more campaigns: Ukraine is looking for recruits
Ukrainian soldiers training

Noos Newsan average

  • Shem Baldock

    Foreign editor

  • Shem Baldock

    Foreign editor

Ukraine seeks to increase the number of recruits in various ways. Advertising campaigns are expanded, exclusion rules are carefully adjusted and evasion is severely punished. The Ukrainian army needs more manpower and recently Requested President Zelensky calls for expanding mobilization.

Due to martial law, all Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 can conscript unless they have the right to deferment or exemption. However, the list of exceptions is long. Mobilization is also done largely on a voluntary basis. According to Ukraine, manpower is recruited mainly on the basis of a person’s specialization.

Mobilization under a magnifying glass after the bribery scandal. Zelensky recently decided to replace the heads of all regional conscription centers, where medical exemption documents were issued for a fee.

All medical exemptions are now being re-examined. A parliamentary committee is also investigating whether the men who left Ukraine with such a procured exception could have been extradited. According to the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, there are already Ukrainians in Poland Hand it over Who illegally helped to leave Ukraine. As far as is known, this has not happened in the Netherlands.

Limited fit

However, minor adjustments are being made to the recruitment rules. From October 1, women working in medical professions will also be required to serve. Female doctors, nurses, and pharmacists must register with employment offices and can be summoned later.

The list of medical exceptions will also be modified. Currently, recruits are divided into three categories: qualified, unfit, and limited eligibility. The last category will be eliminated and recruits with “limited eligibility” re-screened. This is expected to include tens of thousands of people.

“This will lead to the recruitment of Ukrainians suffering from certain diseases or conditions,” said Timur Savin, a journalist at the Ukrainian weekly magazine Fox. This includes people with asymptomatic HIV infection, certain thyroid disorders, or recovered tuberculosis patients. Savin criticizes this “destructive” plan. “It may send new troops, but I doubt how effective it will be.”


Another proposed amendment relates to student mobilization. Currently, deferment of military service applies to all students. This would lead to students undertaking new studies to avoid conscription. Initiator Feder Venislavski of the ruling Servant of the People party wants to address this by abolishing the exemption for students aged 30 and over.

According to him, the number of students aged 25 years and above reached 106,000 in 2022, compared to 40,000 in 2021. “This means that 60,000 people are avoiding military service in this way,” he said.

It’s normal to be afraid.

Ministry of Defense recruitment campaign

Russia is exploiting the uncertainty over mobilization. According to Ukrainian military intelligence, Ukrainian mobilization is one of the main themes of Russian disinformation campaigns. Abuses, such as videos showing hardened employees in the hiring process, are actively spread by (pro-Russian) bloggers.

There is also a lot of fake news circulating, such as the message that all Kharkiv Metro employees should go to the front. A scanned letter from the recruitment agency was submitted as evidence. In fact, this was an invitation to verify personal data in the conscription register, and therefore not a call to service.

New campaigns

Kiev hopes that particularly enthusiastic Ukrainians will serve in the army. Advertising campaigns are also aimed at this. “There are a lot of advertisements, especially in big cities,” says journalist Savin. “It is becoming increasingly common for people to receive a text message that includes a targeted call.”

The new recruitment drive focuses specifically on the skeptic group. “Even now, people are attracted to the image of heroic warriors.” Put The design agency behind the campaign. In the new campaign, the emphasis is on the fact that fear is normal. It should convince Ukrainians who so far consider themselves unsuitable for the army.

“Panic in the air is scary,” says a fighter pilot with 360 flights to his name. Below: “Admitting fear is courage. We need the brave.”

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