Ukraine Calls Up Operational Reserves

Ukraine’s Land Forces announced on Wednesday that it was calling up members of its operational reserves, effective immediately. Reservists between 18 and 60 years of age are being mobilized for a year.

In a televised address late on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky stated that he had signed a decree mobilizing the operational reserves for a “special period”. He stressed that the mobilization was limited to the operational reserves, saying that there was “no need” for a general mobilization. “We must increase the readiness of the Ukrainian army for all possible changes in the operational situation”.

According to the Ukrainian defense ministry, reservists in the operational reserves are those who have previously left active service in the Ukrainian military, but remain eligible for mobilization for “special periods”. In addition to acquiring an occupational specialty during active service, members of the operational reserve are also evaluated to ensure they meet physical and mental fitness requirements in the event they are called up.

In addition to the mobilization of the operational reserves, Zelensky also announced that Ukrainian territorial defense units would be conducting drills in the near future, in order to boost their readiness. The units, expanded in response to the initial Russian military buildup in November 2021, are tasked with a range of conventional and unconventional warfare missions, augmenting the regular Ukrainian military’s ability to respond to hybrid warfare.

Zelensky said that Ukraine was still pursuing diplomatic means of exiting the crisis, welcoming Turkish offers to participate in multilateral talks. According to him, Russia has received a strong response to its decision to recognize and deploy troops to parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba denied that Ukraine was currently planning to evacuate the cities of Mariupol or Kharkiv, viewed as the first targets of a possible Russian invasion. In a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after meeting with him and President Joe Biden, Kuleba said that “Plan A” was to use diplomacy to avert a war, failing which Plan B would be “to fight for every inch of our land and every city and every village. To fight until we win, of course.”