While delivering a speech at the Parliament, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Ukraine’s transition to a professional army and an increase in the number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) by 100,000 members over the next three years.

“The decree stipulates the cash security of all service members at the level of at least three minimum wages; an increase in the duration of contracts, development of a concept of housing for service members, veterans and their families; the career system of officers; and an increase in the number of the AFU by 100,000 members of the professional army, creation of an additional 20 AFU brigades,” the Head of State said.

According to him, this document also provides for a gradual transition to the formation of the armed forces on a professional basis. In particular, it includes the introduction of a model of an intensive system of military training as a possible alternative form of military service and the termination of conscription of Ukrainian citizens for military service from 1 January 2024.

“This decree is the start of Ukraine’s transition to a professional army. This decree is adopted not because ‘war is coming.’ This decree has to ensure that peace comes soon and lasts further,” Zelensky stressed.

He added that Ukraine appreciated the support of all but must rely primarily on itself and its military.

The Head of State also thanked all Western partners who support Ukraine. To date, the diplomatic support of Ukraine is the largest since 2014 and continues to be maintained. The military-technical assistance is also the largest since 2014, “invaluable and continues to arrive.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine could mobilise up to 2.5 million people in case of Russian invasion. He noted that about 120,000 Russian troops amassed near Ukraine and Moscow could arrange provocations “any time,” but large-scale preparations would be needed to start a full-fledged invasion, and it would be noticed easily.

Bohdan Marusyak

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