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War-fatigued relatives of Ukrainian soldiers demand limiting the duration of military service

Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Ukrainian cities on Friday to demand that compulsory military service be limited to 18 months. Mothers, wives and children of Ukrainian soldiers are protesting amid renewed speculation that Ukraine and the international community may be fatigued by the 20-month war – The Associated Press.

Both parties of the military standoff are keen to maintain military momentum, with fighting expected to drag on until the end of next year.

Ukraine ordered a general mobilisation of the male population aged between 25 and 60 in February 2022 when the war with Russia broke out. The vast majority joined as volunteers, but now that the war is increasingly depleting manpower, Ukraine is increasing the military draft.

The 18-month maximum service period sought by the protesters would be the same as before the war. It currently has no finite limit, and the protesters want the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament, to consider possible alternatives to military service.

About 100 wives, mothers, children and relatives of Ukrainian soldiers took part in a demonstration in the capital Kyiv, chanting “Demobilise the soldiers” and carrying banners calling for the return of their loved ones.

I live in constant fear for his life. It’s nerve-wracking for me. He is tired as well. We are a young family. I also want to have a child and sleep calm at night.

Fierce fighting is currently underway for Avdiivka, a city in the east of Donetsk region partially seized by Russian forces. Its location gives Ukrainian forces an artillery advantage over Donetsk city and could serve as a launching pad for them to liberate the rest of the region.

Satellite images showed that the Russian military had lost at least 109 combat vehicles, mostly armoured fighting vehicles and tanks, near Avdiivka between October 10 and 20, the Institute for the Study of War reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a telephone conversation on Friday the following:

Our soldiers stopped them and inflicted significant casualties, amounting to at least a brigade of personnel.

US President Joe Biden met with the new House Speaker Mike Johnson to discuss support for Kyiv. Johnson replied that Congress was “not going to abandon Ukraine” but requested more information about the US strategy in the conflict.

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