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‘No One Left to Have Children’: Ukraine Conscription Efforts to Decimate Birth Rates

© AFP 2023 / ANATOLII STEPANOV Ukrainian army recruits hold their hands over their hearts as the national anthem is played
Ukrainian army recruits hold their hands over their hearts as the national anthem is played - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2024
According to Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, Ukraine has lost more than 383,000 since the launch of Russia's special military operation.
Ukraine cannot afford to lose more young people to the frontlines, otherwise, there won't be enough to have children and replenish the population, international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Tuesday.
While discussing the state of the Ukrainian frontline and the mass conscription law being considered by the country’s Parliament, Sleboda explained that Ukraine already had a declining population before NATO's proxy war launched in the country.
“Once you got into the '90s and particularly the mid-'90s, people were not having children. The result of that is a demographic narrowing at the lower age group,” Sleboda explained. “There are four times as many people in the 35 to 45 age bracket, [and more in] the 45 to 55 age bracket, than in the 18 to 30 age bracket,” the analyst clarified.

There are roughly 3.5 times more Ukrainians in the 35-55 age groups combined than the 18-30 age group and 2.3 times more in the 35-45 group alone, according to the CIA data. Additionally, the number of 18 and 19-year-olds were estimated as 2/5 of the 15-19 group in that calculation.

“[Ukraine] can literally not afford to lose any more young people because then there will be no one left to have children,” Sleboda stated. “And I hate to tell you, large numbers of their women went to Europe and are going to have European babies and are not coming back,” he noted, adding that it was “a bit distasteful” but “true.”

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Nonetheless, Ukraine has to go forward with the mass conscription plan if it wants to replace its massive losses, particularly in Avdeyevka, according to the analyst. “However bad you think [Avdeyevka] is, it’s much worse,” Sleboda emphasized, saying that newly-appointed Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Alexander Syrsky is repeating Ukraine’s failed strategy in Artemovsk (Bakhmut) and is doubling down on the increasingly encircled city.

“Syrsky [...] is stripping troops from every other front, pulling the very last strategic reserves from the country [...] and is sending them into Avdeyevka, which means it's not just about keeping the troops that are there, it is about throwing, at least I would say 10,000, reinforcements into the situation.

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Sleboda noted that even without the latest conscription law being adopted, Ukraine is already forcing men to the front, focusing on the villages in Western Ukraine. “The conscription has focused on small villages rather than Kiev and other big cities to try to limit the potential for political protests,” he explained. “That is why you're starting to see videos now of locals, even in West Ukraine, trying to fight in the streets [against] the conscription officials.”
Earlier this week, videos appeared on Telegram showing villagers in a town in the Odessa region fighting against conscription officers.
Sleboda also pointed to the number of Ukrainian women who have been killed on the frontlines “not just in rear positions, but in front trench positions” and videos of mentally disabled people that have been conscripted, which “Kiev regime forces” then “make videos of them harassing and torturing these poor mentally disabled people.”
The situation is so dire in Ukraine, that Sleboda said that even Western media is being forced to accept it. “Just chart the rapidity of ‘Ukraine is winning’ to 'it's a stalemate,’ to 'Oh my God, we're losing,'” he explained. “You've seen the change in the media, which is not to say that it's not still full of propaganda, but, there is a bit more despondency [that] matches up with reality.”
He later noted that NATO “does not have the ability” to build up another army for Kiev that matches the one that was largely destroyed in Ukraine’s failed 2023 counteroffensive.

“That leaves them with a defensive strategy going forward for the foreseeable future, where their entire goal is simply to raise the costs on Russia, to make Russia bleed so that Russia is satisfied with less,” Sleboda explained. “That’s all they have left.”

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