© Wojtek Radwanski/AFPUkrainian soldiers practice trench assaulting during military training.
Those who have already killed would make more effective soldiers than those who haven't, Denis Malyuska argues...

Ukrainian convicts serving sentences for murder should be conscripted and sent to the front line to fight Russian forces, the country's Justice Minister Denis Malyuska has suggested.

Such a move would boost the ranks of the Ukrainian military, address ongoing personnel shortages and would also help reduce pressure on the country's prison system, Malyuska said in an interview with parliamentary broadcaster Rada on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill allowing for the incorporation of convicts into the country's armed forces, except for those who have committed crimes against national security or who have murdered two or more people. The exemptions also include rapists, pedophiles, and those responsible for fatal driving accidents under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, the minister suggested that those who committed homicide should not be banned from service:
"Perhaps those who know how to kill would be more effective as soldiers than those who have not killed yet, and less dangerous than those who were robbing for decades and then given a machine gun."
The Justice Ministry expects that some 10,000 inmates could become soldiers as a result of a mobilization in Ukraine's penitentiary system, Malyuska said.
"The convicts are going to serve in separate units... those formations are definitely going to be deployed on the front line or near it. None of the criminals will serve in the rear."
Malyuska didn't mention whether drafted inmates would be provided with some sort of military training before being sent into battle. He acknowledged:
"The mobilization would also reduce pressure on Ukrainian prisons. The number of those who end up in our institutions is growing significantly; at some stage we may burst."
Informed sources cited by Bloomberg on Thursday said that the US and the EU are concerned that Russian forces may punch through Ukrainian defensive lines in the coming weeks. Kiev's troops are struggling because of delays in Western military aid and personnel shortages, the agency said.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky signed a new mobilization law, which states that draftees are to remain in the military indefinitely, and also introduced harsher penalties for dodgers and a simplified process of handing out summonses.

In February, Zelensky claimed that only 32,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the conflict since February 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry estimates Kiev's losses at over 444,000.