Ukraine announces purchase of 50,000 women’s uniforms as worries grow women could be drafted

Ukrainian women during an exercise. (MTI/EPA/Serhij Dolzhenko)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

With Ukraine’s armed forces struggling to fill its ranks, there is a new piece of evidence that the country could move to draft women in large numbers to replenish lost manpower.

There was already talk of women being conscripted into the army if necessary, and in October of last year, requirements for women with medical degrees to register for the military came into force.

While the latest draft law does not include conscription for women, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov announced in a Facebook post on Monday that the ministry had purchased 50,000 women’s uniforms, adding that this was the first time such an investment had been made.

The latest purchases also included 100,000 electric heaters and 15,000 active headphones.

According to the Ministry of Defense, there are more than 60,000 women in the army, making up around 7 percent of the armed forces.

However, there is evidence that also points in the other direction.

“I can say for sure that there will be no lottery (for conscription), there will be no mobilization of women, there will be no property census. In fact, it is unconstitutional, there should be no such thing,” said Yehor Cherniev, deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, during a radio interview. There will be no unconstitutional positions,” he added.

President Volodymyr Zelensky. also clarified: “I won’t sign the mandatory mobilization for women. But the decreasing of conscription age — that I will sign.”

Although tens of thousands of Ukrainian men raced to volunteer at the beginning of the war, enthusiasm has waned as the war has dragged on, and the country continues to face a manpower shortage.

However, as the New York Times recently reported, the Ukrainian armed forces have worked to draw more women into the armed forces, including in combat roles. If the war deteriorates for Ukraine, the country may come under pressure to change its stance on women conscripts and begin a draft many once considered unthinkable.

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