Ukraine's Zelenskiy issues decree on discharging conscripts

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Zelenskiy attends 'Ukraine. Year 2024' conference in Kyiv
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(Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a decree on Thursday providing for conscripts serving in the two-year-old war against Russia to be discharged into Ukraine's reserves within the next two months.

The decree will allow some respite for service members who have been engaged in the military since even before Russian troops poured over the border in February 2022.

In addition, those discharged will be exempt from further call-ups for 12 months.

"Today, we have a decree for the discharge to reserves of conscripts -- those who were called up for military service before the full-scale invasion began," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"At the request of the military command, several weeks are needed for preparatory procedures, replacing individuals in terms of defence tasks, and from April, conscripts will be transferred to the reserves."

A little more than two years into the invasion, Ukraine faces shortages of both men and equipment.

Russia has made some gains along the 1,000-km (600-mile) front in the east and south, including the capture by Moscow's forces last month of the town of Avdiivka, but there has been little movement along the front lines.

Western countries continue to pledge support to Ukraine's campaign to oust Russian troops, but a promised aid package from Washington has stalled amid disputes in the U.S. Congress.

A bill on mobilisation to ensure sufficient numbers of Ukrainian service members in the campaign is making its way through Ukraine's parliament, punctuated by lively debate among deputies and in society at large.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; editing by Jonathan Oatis)