May 20, 2022

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The Ukrainian president enlists reservists, but rules out general mobilization for the time being

The Ukrainian president enlists reservists, but rules out general mobilization for the time being

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with leaders of parliamentary entities and groups in Kiev, Ukraine on February 22, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service / Handout via Reuters Attention Editors – This image is provided by a third party.

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KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday he was applying the compulsory conscription of reservists for a special period, but ruled out a general mobilization after Russia announced it would move its forces into eastern Ukraine.

One of Europe’s worst security crises in decades emerged after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two regions in eastern Ukraine. Both neighbor Russia and have been under the control of Russian-backed fighters since 2014.

Ukraine has accused Russia of thwarting peace talks to end the eight-year conflict in eastern Ukraine and has resisted Moscow’s demands to abandon its ambition to join NATO.

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In a televised address, Zelensky said he was still seeking diplomatic ways out of the crisis and welcomed Turkey’s willingness to participate in multilateral talks, but said Ukraine would not cede any territory to Russia.

Zelensky, addressing his country after a multi-party meeting in Parliament, announced the “Economic Patriotism” program, which included stimulating domestic production and reducing value-added tax on gasoline.

“There is no need for general mobilization today. We need to urgently replenish the Ukrainian army and other military formations,” he said.

“As the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I issued a decree on the recruitment of reservists during a special period,” he said.

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“We must increase the readiness of the Ukrainian army for all possible changes in the operational situation,” he said.

Zelensky publicly criticized foreign embassies and Ukrainian businessmen for leaving Ukraine for security reasons, and renewed his call for companies to stay put.

“They should all remain in Ukraine. Their institutions are located on Ukrainian territory, which is protected by our army,” he said.

Ukraine and Western countries have long accused Russia of instigating conflict in eastern Ukraine and sending troops and heavy weapons to support the separatists since 2014. Moscow has long denied doing so and has demanded that Kiev hold direct talks with separatist leaders whose legitimacy is not recognized by Ukraine. .

“Yesterday the Russian Federation recognized the independence of quasi-entities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

“Today, it has ratified the so-called ‘Agreements’ and given permission to the President of Russia to use the Armed Forces abroad. This is in Donbass. On the territory of Ukraine. The word ‘we are not there’ has been replaced by the official ‘We are still here’.”

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(Reporting by Natalia Zenets and Mathias Williams) Editing by Howard Guler

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