US Secretary of State encourages Ukrainians to accept military conscription

Mobilization is considered a necessary step toward future NATO membership, the top US diplomat has stated.

Ukrainians must accept more mobilization as a step deemed necessary toward the country’s eventual NATO membership, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a speech in Kiev on Tuesday.
Speaking to students at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, the top US diplomat noted that Ukrainians are relying on his country for continued support, but insisted that they must see the importance of the military draft for the fight against Russia.
“Your recent mobilization was a difficult decision, but a necessary one. The defenders who have so courageously held the line for more than two years need help. They need rest,” Blinken said.
Joining the military will “allow you to harden your defenses, to build more units, to take the fight to Russian aggressors,” he added.
Blinken mentioned members of the university’s community who have enrolled as volunteers, and of whom 88 have been killed in the ongoing conflict, according to the diplomat.

Kiev has recently adopted a radical military reform which is set to enter force this month. It introduces harsh punishments for draft avoidance in an attempt to achieve higher mobilization rates.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied consular services for citizens living abroad in a bid to force Ukrainian men of fighting age to return home and take up arms.
Russia has estimated Ukrainian military losses this year alone at over 111,000, as of early May.
During his visit to Ukraine, Blinken also stated that the US goal is to ensure the country’s future as a “free, prosperous, secure democracy fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.”
“We are bringing Ukraine closer to, and then into NATO. We’ll make sure that Ukraine’s bridge to NATO is strong and well-lit,” he promised, predicting “tangible” progress along that path later this year.