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Ukraine's information policy on mobilization may lead to unpredictable consequences - military expert Serhiy Zgurets

28 December, 2023 Thursday

An incorrect information policy on mobilization activities can lead to unpredictable consequences. Society's attitude to a quick victory and underestimation of the aggressor's potential is reflected in a decrease in mobilization resources, ignoring calls, and evasion of mobilization

Ukraine's prospects on the battlefield in 2024

The commander of the Khortytsia operational and strategic grouping Oleksandr Syrskyi and the commander of the Tavria operational and strategic grouping Oleksandr Tarnavskyi spoke about the situation on the front line in continuation of the statements made by Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Oleksandr Syrskyi said that the Russian troops, despite significant losses, continue intensive offensive actions in all key areas.

In the Kupyansk sector, Russians are trying to capture Synkivka at any cost and create conditions for blocking Kupyansk. The Russian forces are also preparing assault units from among the airborne units to develop an offensive in the direction of Siversk. In the Bakhmut sector, the invading troops are trying to capture Bohdanivka and regain their lost ground in the vicinity of Klishchiivka, Kurdiumivka, and Andriivka.

Map of combat actions in the Avdiivka sector as of December 26

In his turn, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi told the BBC that Russian forces have intensified their activities along the entire front line and his area of responsibility. According to the general, the Russian aggressors are determined to at least capture Avdiivka, although the invaders do not really want to enter the city, but are trying to bypass it to avoid fighting in the city. According to Tarnavskyi, Russia has practically wiped Marinka off the map. Near Robotyne, the Russians are trying to regain the positions they lost during our offensive. In general, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi predicts that 2024 may be more difficult in terms of combat operations than 2023.

A month ago, Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that the situation at the front could come to a standstill, as both sides operate weapons and technologies of the same level with certain advantages in certain segments. Therefore, new technologies and tactics are needed to change the battlefield. Valerii Zaluzhnyi also noted that the next year for the Ukrainian Defense Forces should differ from 2023 primarily in terms of technological capabilities. According to him, 90% of solutions have already been found in the areas he outlined as priorities. I would like to remind you that it was about ensuring air dominance by scaling up the use of drones, expanding the potential of electronic warfare systems, improving counter-battery combat, new demining technologies, training forces and reserves, and improving the efficiency of troop management. All of these areas are extremely important to change the situation on the battlefield.

Information policy on mobilization can lead to unpredictable consequences

Valerii Korol, chairman of the board of the Center for Communication and Content Security, emphasized that currently there is only a draft law on mobilization. However, the relevant laws should not be the responsibility of the military. The state should deal with this issue. Therefore, according to Korol, an incorrect information policy on mobilization measures can lead to unpredictable consequences. He noted that the wrong information policy was laid down even before Russia’s full-scale invasion. Since the threats to Ukraine were ignored in the information space back then, Ukrainians were led to believe that everything would be fine.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the full-scale invasion only changed the form of communication with the public, but the optimistic tone in the information space remained a trend. According to Korol, if only positive messages about the course of hostilities are presented, the country may suffer numerous negative consequences. The public's attitude toward a quick victory and underestimation of the aggressor's potential is reflected in a decrease in mobilization resources, ignoring calls, and evasion of mobilization.

Society deserves to be treated by the state as a partner, to talk about difficulties and problems and to consult on how to break the deadlock. Korol noted that the government should articulate more clearly the problems faced by the state and the army. This is a complex task that can be solved in a short period. Because in such matters, the state cannot do without the help of society and vice versa.

Valerii Korol emphasized that the national information space is very important in the context of the war with the aggressor. It is a clearly structured space within which certain discourses are formed, and one cannot say one thing today and another tomorrow. Today, the main task of the state is to consolidate society. Korol noted that today we must look at all problems from the same point of view. The state and society must understand what the problems are and how to overcome them. It is in such conditions, as noted by Korol, that we will be able to get a powerful content background to neutralize Russian aggression. However, if we continue to have hype campaigns in our information space, we will be playing along with the enemy.

The issue of mobilization is not just relevant, but very important

The draft law on mobilization will be adopted and signed by the president. According to Korol, in May there was a situation when the president did not sign the law on reducing the draft age. However, the situation is now viewed from a completely different perspective. In May, the Defense Forces were launching counteroffensive actions and hopes for success were different. Now, unfortunately, the issue of mobilization is not just relevant, but very important. According to Korol, if the issue of mobilization had arisen in May, there would be no such problems now. In May, the president demanded that the relevant law be made comprehensive, and it was done. However, we have lost time. It should be understood that mobilization is not only about a citizen's visit to the military commissariat but also about the readiness to kill enemies.

The law on mobilization is only one of the starting points, of which there should be many. The state, or rather the authorities, should work on this. Since it has such opportunities. Now we are faced with the fact that we are just beginning to create the conditions for strengthening mobilization measures. And although according to Korol, the most productive time for the government to communicate with society on mobilization is lost, it is too early to give up. The formation of an information policy aimed at understanding the attitude of citizens to the defense of the country can work if all components are clearly defined, work 24 hours a day, and have a vertical line. The discourse line should have existed for years. According to Korol, this is exactly the task set by the authorities today. Moreover, the fact that the Commander-in-Chief has joined this process is encouraging. However, approaches need to be changed.

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