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Russian Parliament Speaker Mocks Biden and Zelensky Over Ukraine’s Mobilization Efforts

Vyacheslav Volodin
Vyacheslav Volodin

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s parliament, ridiculed President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for Kyiv’s efforts to mobilize its citizens, suggesting they should be included in the draft. This came after reports of Ukraine updating its criteria for military service eligibility due to a shortage of troops following significant losses in offensives along the eastern frontline.

In April, Ukraine’s parliament passed legislation to bolster its military forces, offering financial incentives, death benefits for fallen soldiers’ families, and penalties for draft evasion. Volodin’s remarks were prompted by a report from the Ukrainian outlet Strana, which detailed the new criteria, including allowing individuals with certain illnesses, such as cancer, TB, and HIV, to serve if the conditions were asymptomatic or not severe.

Biden and Zelensky

Zelensky and Biden (Credits: The Times of Israel)

The report also highlighted how mild mental illnesses could qualify individuals for military service, which Volodin disparagingly seized upon to mock Zelensky and Biden. He suggested that Biden, as a “mentally challenged” person, and Zelensky, as a “mental patient dependent on various drugs,” should be the first to be drafted under these criteria.

Ukraine faces a critical shortage of personnel as Russia prepares for an anticipated offensive in the coming weeks. Despite initial volunteerism at the onset of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, sustained losses have led to approximately 650,000 military-aged Ukrainians fleeing the country through various means, including bribery, illegal crossings, or falsified medical records.

Zelensky took measures such as firing conscription officers who accepted bribes to avoid mobilization and suspending consular services for Ukrainian men abroad aged between 18 and 60, except for those returning. Additionally, Kyiv prohibited the delivery of identification documents to Ukrainian men of military age residing abroad as efforts continue to address the urgent need for manpower in the face of escalating tensions with Russia.

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