Ukraine official teases military draft ‘lottery’

The US-style measure came up as Kiev has struggled to mobilize troops

One of the members of the Ukrainian defense industry’s new governing board has floated the idea of using the American-style “lottery” as a solution to Kiev’s conscription troubles. Former Economy Minister Timofey Milovanov brought up the issue on Wednesday.

“Most of my readers write that the right approach to mobilization is through lottery or a draw,” Milovanov said in a Facebook post. 

“The state randomly pulls out the day and the month. People born on those dates are mobilized, others are not. And so it goes for every wave of mobilization,” he elaborated. “I don’t think this is the right approach, but what do you think?”

The post received nearly 1,000 replies going both ways, with more than one person pointing out that this system was used by the US during the Vietnam War and resulted in many wealthy people buying their way out of the draft.

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Ukraine official teases military draft ‘lottery’
Ukraine considers exempting men earning over $875 a month from military draft – Forbes

Earlier in the day, Forbes reported that President Vladimir Zelensky’s office was considering exempting from conscription those Ukrainians who earn 33,400 hryvnias ($875) or more per month.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said last month that Ukraine had lost more than 383,000 troops – both killed and wounded – since the start of hostilities in February 2022.

The government in Kiev has struggled to replace the losses in men and equipment. Zelensky disbanded most regional draft boards in August, after a massive corruption scandal involving the sale of fraudulent medical exemptions. Last month, he announced that the military had asked for drafting another 500,000 more men – and maybe women – at the request of the military, which was immediately denied by General Valery Zaluzhny.

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File photo: State Border Service of Ukraine personnel during a training exercise, May 2019.
Ukraine reveals 2023 draft-dodger numbers

With the West running out of weapons, equipment and ammunition it could donate to Ukraine, the US and its allies have proposed rebuilding the domestic military industry. Last week, Zelensky appointed a new, five-person supervisory board for the state defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom. Among them was Milovanov, a former minister of economic development and trade (2019-2020) and a lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania.

The board also includes an American citizen, Lynndy Smith, who is the CEO of the Arizona Defense and Industry Coalition (AZDIC). The outfit was founded by the late Senator John McCain – an outspoken supporter of the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev that triggered the Donbass conflict.

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