There must be replacement of people in trenches – servicemen’s families

The non-inclusion of the demobilization provision in the new law on mobilization forced the Association of Servicemen’s Families to make several statements in order to be heard. These messages were announced during the briefing “Importance of establishing a provision on the length of service for military personnel under martial law” at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“Since our husbands are defending the country, we have become their voice in the fight for their rights, namely the length of service. First of all, I want to say that we are not here to weaken the defense capability of our country. We understand that right now no one will demobilize our husbands, but this is an important issue. There is entry into the army, and there must be an exit,” said Svitlana Kuchuhura, a member of the Association of Servicemen’s Families.  

She is convinced that the exhausted army is ineffective, and in such conditions the country’s defense capability is a big question. Without replacement of servicemen, the enemy can advance deep into our country. 

“My husband was abroad. He decided to return and defend his family and country, as he had combat experience in the ATO, where had volunteered to fight in 2014. When he mobilized, no one thought how long the war would last, but now is the time to prepare a replacement for those who stood up for the defense from the first days of a full-scale invasion, demanding nothing from the state and society. Therefore, now is the time for the government and society to take care of them and find a way to adopt the specific terms of service,” added Svitlana Kuchuhgura. 

Lilia Tsyoma is the author of petition No. 22/224136-ep “Establishment of the term of service for military personnel during martial law and the right to leave the service by recalculating this term according to the proposed coefficients, taking into account the place of service.” 

In her speech, she reminded that thanks to the courage and voluntary patriotism of hundreds of thousands of men and women, Ukrainians have the possibility of a relatively peaceful life. 

“They gave us a chance for survival and have been carrying the burden of war on their shoulders for more than two years, but I would like to remind you that our defenders are ordinary people, and a person has his own personal reserve of strength and resilience. It is not infinite, unfortunately, and that is why we protect the right of our defenders to return alive as heroes, having honorably fulfilled their duty to the country and society. We understand that now the country’s defense capability  is also in the first place, and it is impossible to replace everyone in the army at once. Because of this, we demand to set a service term of no more than 36 months for everyone,” said Lilia Tsyoma.

According to her, the Association of Servicemen’s Families has developed and offers the introduction of a mechanism of coefficients depending on the place of service as a solution to the problem of simultaneous replacement of a large number of experienced soldiers. 

People’s deputy of Ukraine Inna Sovsun explained the difficulties of passing the relevant changes through the parliament. 

“I am here today in a dual role as a member of parliament and as a woman whose beloved one went to serve on the first day of a full-scale invasion. I knew that he would go to serve, because he had served before that, without being a professional soldier, but he had already fulfilled his duty to the country. And when everyone feared that there would be a full-scale invasion, I had no doubt that he would act in this way. And now I am here, because despite all efforts to lobby the issue of terms of service within the parliament, we see that, unfortunately, this decision was not adopted,” the MP said.

She also said that the executive branch’s promise of eight months to draft a bill on demobilization is bullying. 

“I have been working in the parliament for 5 years, in Ukrainian politics for 10 years, I have written more than one draft law, and I know very well how much time it really takes to prepare a draft law. When I am told about 8 months for the development of a draft law the size of one page, I understand very well: such terms are indicated in order not to solve this problem”,  Inna Sovsun believes.

Serhiy Hnezdilov, an active serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, participated in the briefing. In his opinion, it is impossible to continue to exploit a person without leaving him any right to demobilization or at least the alternative of being sent to the rear. 

“These are completely exhausted people who don’t want to do anything, who don’t want to hear anything,” he admitted. – I advocate that we treat military service not as heroism, not as something so extraordinary. This must still be a civic duty. This is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine, so let’s comply with all provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine and let’s establish clear terms of service.” Valentyna Klymus, a member of the Association of Servicemen’s Families, finds it difficult to imagine what is happening to those people who have been in the trenches for more than two years, and what will happen to them in a year, two, three, five, ten.

“We can’t know when this war will end, and that’s why we need the terms of service to be established. It is necessary to replace people in the trenches. With their hands alone, we will definitely not hold the front,” Valentyna Klymus warned.