Ukraine plans to recruit 130,000 civilians for militia against Russia: report

Officials reportedly are determining how the Ukrainian military will work with militia forces, and how weapons will be stored securely.

Updated: January 26, 2022 - 5:27pm

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Ukraine's Ministry of Defense is planning to organize civilian militia units with 130,000 new recruits, which officials hope will stop or even deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading, Foreign Policy reports.

The popular resistance "would encompass all swaths of Ukrainian society," according to Foreign Policy. The publication has seen the ministry's plan, which has also been shared with Western militaries.

"The best way to protect Ukraine from further military escalation on the part of the Russian Federation is to set conditions under which the aggressor will suffer unacceptable losses and will not be able to attain its goal," Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote in a nine-page memo focusing on civilian resistance. "And the aggressor’s goal is to put an end to independent Ukraine."

The Defense Ministry is working to create brigades throughout the country, with the goal of protecting Ukrainian army units from Russian forces. The agency reportedly has enough supplies for 150 new brigade-level units and battalions in larger cities and additional forces training will occur throughout the country. The command structure will be in place in one month, Foreign Policy stated.

Officials are still determining how the Ukrainian military will work with militia forces and how weapons will be stored securely.

About 1,000 members of Ukrainian special forces are building and training resistance forces, Foreign Policy reports.

"[T]he mission is very simple—not to allow a disaster to come into our houses,” Reznikov wrote, Foreign Policy states. "When hundreds of civilians are prepared, know their movements near their own homes and are able to move to their positions within hours—it will create a new quality of the defence."

The United States and its allies have threatened sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. The Pentagon has placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert to deploy to Eastern Europe in the event of an incursion.