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‘What Exactly Will You Fight For?’ Ukraine's Defense Minister Urges Russians to Resist Mobilization

In a video released early on December 31, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov addressed Russians, warning them of a second wave of mobilization early in the new year.

Speaking in Russian, Reznikov said that in early 2023, Russia planned to close border exits to men, declare martial law, and launch another wave of mobilization. He added that it was unlikely Russian authorities would include mobilization plans in their New Year addresses.

“I do not ask you to trust my words. I only want you to ask yourself one question,” Reznikov said. “When you go to war, where you can die or become crippled for the rest of your life, what exactly will you fight for? You, personally.”

Reznikov said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not going to plan, despite the Kremlin’s insistence it was. He noted major incidents in the war, such as the sinking of Russia’s Moskva flagship in the Black Sea early in the conflict, and recent Ukrainian strikes on military targets deep within Russian territory.

“If the war drags on, your personal chances of dying will increase. Because after the new wave of mobilization there will be another one. And another one,” Reznikov warned. “The one who sits in the bunker does not care how many Russians will die. The main thing is that it would not reach them. The longer this war lasts, the worser its consequences will be for ordinary people, for ordinary Russians. Ukrainians will not fall back. We protect our land, our relatives, our homes.”

He urged Russians eligible for conscription to “avoid mobilization by all means”.

“When bunker leaders fail to muster and dispatch a new batch of mobilized soldiers to the slaughter, they will be forced to admit defeat,” Reznikov said. “And the war will end. It will happen anyway. The only question is the price. And whether this price will be paid with your own blood.”

Reznikov’s New Year’s Eve address came after Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told the BBC’s Ukrainian service the Russian government planned to “start another wave of mobilization from 5 January.”

“I do not know if they will announce it specifically on the 5th. However, 5 January is when they planned it for,” Budanov said. Credit: Ukrainian Military TV via Storyful