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Zaluzhnyi supports increasing responsibility for servicemen guilty of desertion and disobedience

Monday, 19 December 2022, 19:44
Zaluzhnyi supports increasing responsibility for servicemen guilty of desertion and disobedience

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, stated that he supports the law No. 8271, which increases the criminal liability of military personnel for disobeying combat orders, deserting the battlefield or a military unit.

Source: Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s video statement on Facebook

Quote: "Today I have to raise a rather difficult topic: increased responsibility [of military personnel — ed.] for voluntarily leaving a military unit or place of service, desertion, voluntary leaving the battlefield or refusal to act with weapons, disobedience, and failure to comply with combat orders. 


I support the relevant amendments to the legislation adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine [Ukrainian Parliament — ed.] and ask the President to sign the law. My opinion clearly reflects the position of commanders of groups and military units, who demanded a systematic solution to this set of issues."

Details: The army exists on discipline, Zalyzhnyi empasised. 

And if gaps in the legislation do not ensure its compliance, and "refuseniks" can pay a fine of up to 10% of combat pay, or receive a probationary sentence, this is unfair, the Commander-in-Chief believes.

Quote: "Furthermore, this is key: exposed areas of the front are forced to be covered by other servicemen, which leads to increased losses of personnel, territories, and civilians on them. Often, lost positions have to be restored by assault actions at a very high cost. This should not be the case."

Details: According to Zaluzhnyi, it is possible to solve this problem in a softer way only in peacetime, but in wartime, quick and effective solutions are needed. 

He also emphasised that commanders are fully legally responsible for their actions or inactions, and he has full confidence in his subordinates.

Quote: "Do I recognize the existence of problems that lead to arbitrary abandonment of positions? Yes, I am constantly working on their elimination. And the successful operations to liberate the territories of our state are a confirmation of that.

Is it normal that we discuss this rather sensitive topic in public? Yes, we are in a democratic state. But just as long as it doesn't hurt our efforts to win the war.

Therefore, I urge everyone to put an end to this debate. And together bring victory closer."

Background: On 13 December, the Verkhovna Rada approved and directed the President to sign draft law No. 8271, which significantly strengthens the criminal liability of the military. A petition asking Volodymyr Zelenskyy to promise this law gained more than 25,000 votes in a day.

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