(Dan Tri) – Ukrainian businesses call for changes in the draft law on recruiting troops to the front line, warning that they could paralyze the country’s economy.

Avdiivka chemical and coke factory, where the fierce war between Russia and Ukraine took place recently (Photo: Reuters).

Reuters reported that Ukraine’s leading business associations warned that reforms in Kiev’s military recruitment efforts could deal a severe blow to the Eastern European country’s already struggling economy.

The warning was issued in the context that Ukrainian parliamentarians were discussing a bill to tighten regulations on recruiting troops to the front line.

Two years since Russia launched its military campaign, this issue has become very sensitive for the military, the business community and the general public.

The European Business Association, an organization of about 1,000 Ukrainian companies, said in a statement: `Businesses ask parliament not to paralyze the country’s economy with a new mobilization law. A balance is needed.

The concerns of businesses in Ukraine are related to the risk of losing personnel to operate production activities in the context that Kiev has repeatedly admitted that it has difficulty sending troops to the front line in the face of large Russian forces.

It shows that Ukrainian politicians are having to `walk a tightrope` to ensure a balance between adding resources to the battlefield, while protecting an economy that becomes fragile and prone to collapse during wartime.

Ukrainian authorities moved to tighten military recruitment regulations late last year as fighting in the war showed no signs of stopping and fewer people wanted to volunteer to fight.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said last December that he was considering a proposal to mobilize an additional half a million people into the army.

The government drafted the law, but the initial draft sparked protests from analysts and lawmakers, who said some proposals were inconsistent with Ukraine’s constitution.

The bill has been amended and a new version has won initial support in parliament.

The Ukrainian Business Council, which brings together more than 100 associations, called on the government to eliminate regulations that could harm businesses operating in a state of survival.

Congressman David Arakhamia admitted that Ukrainian authorities are trying to find a way to balance the wishes of the military command, businesses and the people, but emphasized that this is a very difficult task.

Business associations have asked for clearer regulations on recruiting workers in high-skilled sectors.

Mariia Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Information Technology Association, told Reuters that only about 1% of the industry’s 360,000 workforce had a deferment from military service.

Ukrainian businesses are worried about Russia’s `alarming` progress

In another development, the head of Ukraine’s major steel enterprise Metinvest called Russia’s advances in the East `alarming.`

Russia’s acquisition of Avdiivka last week gives Moscow full control of Metinvest’s vast Soviet-era coke plant.

The front line is now within a 40km radius from Pokrovsk, where Metinvest operates Ukraine’s largest coal mine and the largest steel plant in Zaporizhia to the south.

`Russia’s momentum is quite alarming,` admitted Yury Ryzhenkov, chief executive of Metinvest.

When asked if Metinvest was currently preparing for Pokrovsk and Zaporizhia to be attacked, he admitted that it was difficult for Ukraine to do anything more than a basic evacuation plan because of the huge scale of infrastructure it has.

He called on the West to increase aid so that Ukraine can protect key facilities in the country’s heavy industry.

The iron and steel industry employed about 600,000 people and contributed about 10% of Ukraine’s GDP before the war with Russia.

However, it is estimated that about 9,000-10,000 workers have had to enlist and Mr. Ryzhenkov warned that if Ukraine tightens military recruitment laws, the country’s steel industry will not be able to ensure enough labor to operate.