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Zelenskyy: “We have 880,000 fighters in the army”

At the same time, nearly 7 million Ukrainians left the country. It means a lack of taxes and reserves for the army, he said in the interview for ARD.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the interview for for ARD. Screenshot from the video.

Speaking with a journalist from the German TV channel ARD in Kyiv, Zelenskyy said Ukraine has almost a 1-million-strong army. At the same time, only 30 million Ukrainians are living in Ukraine and paying taxes, down from the pre-war level of at least 37 million.

Answering the question about the new mobilization law, Zelenskyy said it is first of all about justice. The army needs additional recruits to ensure the rotation of those who have been fighting since the first days of the war.

In the issue of mobilization, the moment of demobilization is important. Many people fought for many days. There are people who have been on the battlefield for 700 days. I am grateful to them for protecting our state, like every Ukrainian. Gratitude is not enough from society. I think we need fair rotations. We need to give extended vacations. Money cannot cover everything. Although wages are high, but, nevertheless, justice is needed in this direction. I expect the law on fair mobilization from the military,” Zelenskyy said.

The journalist also noted that nearly 200,000 Ukrainian men of military age left Ukraine for Germany. She asked whether the German government should think about reducing social assistance for such men so that the money that would be saved could be used to support Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said that it would be better if that money were redirected to Ukraine so that the country could allocate it only for those who had legal grounds to leave in the first days of the war because “the law should work.” He also noted that those men should return to Ukraine but it doesn’t mean they should necessarily go directly to the army. They also should stay in Ukraine for the time of the war to work and pay taxes, which are then allocated for the military.

Zelenskyy explained that part of Ukraine’s money now remained in Europe because when people fled their homes from the war, they took the money away. Then, Europe began to support Ukrainians in Europe, and all the money that went to support Ukrainians remained abroad in the economies of other states.

And in the end, our money left, and European money remained where the citizens of Ukraine remained. Outside the territory of Ukraine. I have no questions to this. I would just like us to pay attention to this, to where the money stay when we are talking about the support [for Ukraine].

Zelenskyy also said it is wrong when representatives of military enlistment offices are visiting people’s homes to take recruits, saying that this process should be digitized and that the new law should designed to address this issue in particular.

As was reported earlier, Ukraine’s government submitted to the parliament the new law on mobilization to limit the categories exempt from duty and ensure long rotations for soldiers in the condition of war for exhaustion.

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