Ukraine parliament passes mobilisation bill to boost troop numbers

General tells parliament Russian forces outnumber Kyiv’s soldiers up to 10 times on the battlefields in the east.

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a bill to overhaul how the military drafts civilians in an attempt to boost its number of soldiers more than two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The bill, which dropped a set of draconian draft-dodging penalties that sparked public outrage, was backed by the armed forces.

Before the bill’s passage on Thursday, a general told parliament that Russia has up to 10 times more soldiers than Ukraine on battlefields in the east.

“Pass this law and the Ukrainian armed forces will not let down you or the Ukrainian people,” General Yuriy Sodol told lawmakers.

“We are maintaining our defences with our last strength,” he said as lawmakers stood up and applauded more than a dozen commanders who attended the session.

Military analysts have said Ukraine’s armed forces need to address acute problems with manpower and their artillery shell shortage as better-equipped Russian forces make advances in the east.

The bill passed with a majority of 283 votes in the 450-member parliament, Yaroslav Zhelezniak, a lawmaker for the Holos party, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.