Ukraine’s sixth wave of military conscription was meant to be its last for 2015, but after only recruiting half of the needed 25,000 men, the country is facing several additional waves of conscription, or a mandatory military draft. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Peter Mehed told local media last week that it was possible that a seventh, eighth, or even ninth wave of mobilization would take place to meet the goal, according to a report published Thursday.
The sixth wave of conscription began on June 18, according to Ukrainian media. A ceasefire deal signed February in Minsk, Belarus, has failed to stem the conflict. When the conflict broke out in Ukraine in 2014, the country’s army was unprepared and poorly equipped, lacking even basic supplies such as helmets. Although the equipment supply has improved, after over a year of conflict experts told local media that low wages and uncertainty over the conflict’s end are most likely the factors driving low conscription numbers.
Ukraine has continued to ask Washington for lethal aid, but President Obama has only sent nonlethal weapons and support. American forces have been training Ukrainian military forces in the western part of the country since April. American forces were learning from the conditions the Ukrainians have faced, an American general participating in the training told the Wall Street Journal, saying in part, “we haven’t faced something like this ourselves for a while."
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reiterated this week that the Minsk peace agreement was the only way forward to ending the conflict. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko will be present in New York for the United Nation’s General Assembly in September, prompting rumors that the two sides may meet for further discussions. The conflict in the eastern Donbas region between Ukrainian government forces and separatists backed by Moscow has taken the lives of upwards of 6,700 people and displaced more than 1.4 million people.