Photo: Valery Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (Getty Images) Author: Dmitry Levitsky
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny held a briefing for journalists in Kyiv, where he commented on the issues of demobilization of the military, the work of the TCC, electronic agendas and more.
RBC-Ukraine collected the main statements of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a briefing.
In preparing the material, publications from the “We are Ukraine” channel and the publications “Hromadske”, “Radio Liberty” and “ArmiyaInform” were used.
About demobilization and rotation
According to Zaluzhny, the General Staff agreed with the Ministry of Defense to demobilize the military 36 months after the start of service. However, as the commander-in-chief added, the possibility of demobilization will depend on several factors.
The first factor is that there should be no aggravations at the front. Secondly, in 36 months there will be someone to replace these people.
“I clearly understand that our soldiers are now at the front in extremely difficult and very difficult conditions doing their job, thanks to which we can now calmly communicate with you. Of course, I would like people joining the army, and especially those who are already serve, they clearly understood how long they would need to fight,” the commander-in-chief said.
Zaluzhny also commented on the possibility of rotations at the front every six months, as provided for in the bill on changes in mobilization, which the Cabinet of Ministers submitted to parliament yesterday.
“ I would like this standard to exist. But the situation depends on the actions of the enemy . We cannot predict that this will be five or six months. What if the enemy comes from unattacked areas?” he explained.
As the commander-in-chief stated, he would be happy with any way to attract people to the army , but added that this initiative did not come from the General Staff or the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“The General Staff did not make proposals for electronic subpoenas. But we are happy with any method that will meet our need for people,” Zaluzhny said.
Operation of the TCC
Zaluzhny is dissatisfied with the work of the Territorial Centers for Recruitment and Social Support (the so-called “military registration and enlistment offices”).
“As of today, I am still dissatisfied with their work. We ensured that the key positions remain and continue to work. As for the managers, some have already been fired, but the process of change continues,” he emphasized.
According to the commander-in-chief, if the TCC and the joint venture worked as they should, there would be no need to discuss the mobilization bill.
“People working in the TCC is a separate specialty; it is necessary to have a certain set of knowledge, skills and abilities that allow TCC employees to perform their duties. Both outside the TCC and inside this organism. But as of today, I want to say that the opportunities for The territorial recruitment centers were not deprived of receiving personnel,” Zaluzhny added.
Marinka and Avdeevka
Zaluzhny spoke about the situation in Avdeevka and Marinka, which are now the hottest spots on the front. He said that Ukrainian troops had retreated to the northern outskirts of Marinka because the Russians had completely destroyed the Ukrainian city.
“We defend every piece of our land. But when on this narrow piece of land enemy shells begin to dig up this place along with stones, earth and our soldiers, the lives of our soldiers are more important to us. Therefore, in Marinka, which held out for almost two years, our troops are still in its northern part, but they prepared a defensive line outside this settlement ,” the commander-in-chief said.
Commenting on the situation in Avdiivka, which the occupiers are trying to surround, as Bakhmut once did, Zaluzhny called “not to get hung up and not to make some kind of “show or sorrow” around a specific settlement.” But he added that the Russians have the opportunity to gather their forces in a certain direction and repeat the fate of Bakhmut in two or three months.
“The conduct of actions is subject to its own laws, which do not depend on whether deputies or journalists like it… Every piece of land is dear to us, we will defend exactly as much as we have the strength . If the strength is not enough, we save the people, and then we will recapture,” he explained .
War 2024 must be different from war 2023
According to Zaluzhny, the war in 2024 should be different from the war in 2023.
” 2024 must be different from 2023, because otherwise we will face what I wrote about in the article. We found problems and 90% of solutions to act more efficiently and save people. Our partners agreed with us. My main mistake was “I believed that the number of losses we caused would stop anyone, but not the Russian Federation ,” the commander-in-chief noted.
About Western aid to Ukraine
The Commander-in-Chief is confident that Western partners will continue to help Ukraine.
“ I am confident that Western partners will remain with us. All other needs (internal – ed.) are discussed in the Ministry of Defense and some are being implemented. I am not disappointed with the level of support for 2023 ,” he said.
Training of brigades in the Armed Forces of Ukraine
As Zaluzhny said, today Ukraine has the ability to simultaneously train up to 10 brigades . He also agreed that only trained people should go to the front.
“I agree with any initiatives that even increase the responsibility for a person going to the front unprepared. This cannot happen. We have an excellent opportunity to use both our capabilities and the capabilities of our partners – and they pay great attention to the training of our troops,” – added the commander in chief.
Zaluzhny supported the dismissal of conscripts who were not demobilized due to martial law.
“As of the summer, we were not ready to release conscripts. But at the end of November this was already our proposal – we turned to the Ministry of Defense to dismiss conscripts from military service. Our clear position is to dismiss them so that they can go on vacation. And then – acted under the existing legislation ,” he said.
Mobilization will be gradual
Zaluzhny noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ need for new fighters does not mean that everyone will be mobilized at once. According to him, this process will occur gradually.
“Firstly, I in no way named the figure 500 or 400 (thousands – ed.), I named the general need. I have already said that this need is divided into certain periods. That is, someone will be mobilized in January, and someone – then even in December (next year – ed.) . 2023 followed the same pattern, nothing special. Thus, this will be carried out in 2024,” the commander-in-chief explained.
What Zaluzhny said the day before
Let us remind you that this is Zaluzhny’s second appearance in public today. On the eve of the briefing, the commander-in-chief appeared on the United News telethon and commented on the bill on changes in mobilization submitted to parliament yesterday.
“The main thing for me is that people join the army and be able to carry out the assigned tasks. Who will have a deferment or who will not have what deferment, who the state will call up – today I believe that this is not my competence,” he said then.
In addition, Zaluzhny responded to the need voiced by President Vladimir Zelensky to mobilize another 500 thousand people. According to the commander-in-chief, the General Staff did not come up with a specific figure, but regularly forms its requests for ammunition, weapons and, accordingly, for human resources.
Changes in mobilization
At the final press conference, Zelensky said that the General Staff is asking to mobilize an additional 450-500 thousand people. According to him, for this there must be a comprehensive plan, which will also address the issues of those who have been fighting for almost two years without a break.
Yesterday evening the Cabinet of Ministers submitted a large bill on mobilization to the Rada. The document, among other things, proposes lowering the age threshold for mobilization from 27 to 25 years, reducing the list of categories not subject to it, as well as sending summons to the TCC by e-mail and other initiatives.
Read more in the material “New rules. What Ukrainians can expect from a major draft law on mobilization: a summary.”
Read urgent and important messages about Russia's war against Ukraine on the RBC-Ukraine Telegram channel.