Long-term, Ukraine needs to rely on volunteer army — UK military expert

Ukrainian recruits in training
Ukrainian recruits in training

Lackluster pay and insufficient compensation for combat injuries discourage Ukrainian citizens from volunteering to join the military, former UK Defense Intelligence officer and lecturer of military strategy at Portsmouth University, Frank Ledwidge, told NV on June 3.

Ukraine is currently facing challenges in recruiting citizens to join its military on a voluntary basis. However, in the long run, the country needs to build an army with the maximum number of volunteers, says Ledwidge.

"The best soldier is a volunteer; he is worth ten conscripts," the expert said.

According to Ledwidge, Ukraine has reached a point where recruiting volunteers has is struggling due to lacking compensation. Currently, the incentives for potential servicemen and women seem less attractive compared to those from comfortable civilian jobs. Besides the baseline salary, the issue is insufficient government support provided in case of injury.

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"Those who volunteer and risk getting injured should receive a decent state pension; there must be a care program for these people," Ledwidge explains.

"Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it will improve the recruitment proposition."

In the UK, he notes, the military remains small but professional. Recruitment revolves around two key motivational factors: British servicemen and women are paid well and treated well.

There are alternative recruitment models. For example, during the Vietnam War, the United States implemented a selective draft, where conscripts were chosen through a lottery. However, doing the same in Ukraine is too late, Ledwidge says. Firstly, there is no up-to-date military reserve database. Secondly, there is the potential political chaos that could arise from further attempts to change mobilization legislation.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine