Ukraine suspends consular services for military-age men in draft push

Ukraine suspends consular services for military-age men in draft push
Polish Army soldiers and Polish Police during operational activities in Przewodow, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland, 16 November 2022. Poland has raised military readiness after a missile explosion killed two civilians in Przewodow, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine, November 15. 'The missile which fell on Polish territory was probably a 1970s Russian product. We have no proof of its being fired from Russia. It is highly probable that it belonged to the Ukrainian defence forces,' President Andrzej Duda said in a statement on 16 November. EPA-EFE/WOJTEK JARGILO POLAND OUT

Ukraine on Tuesday suspended consular services for military-age male citizens until May 18, criticising Ukrainians abroad who it said expected to receive help from the state without helping it battle for survival in the war against Russia.

Hundreds of thousands of military-age Ukrainian men are living abroad and the country faces an acute shortage of troops against a larger, better-equipped enemy nearly 26 months since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Ukraine adopted a law last week overhauling how it mobilises civilian men into the armed forces to make the process more effective, addressing what military analysts say is a key challenge if it is to hold out against advancing Russian troops.

“How it looks like now: a man of conscription age went abroad, showed his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on X.

It does not work this way. Our country is at war… Staying abroad does not relieve a citizen of his or her duties to the homeland.”

His harsh tone appeared to reflect mounting frustration in Kyiv with those Ukrainian men based abroad who are not contributing to the war effort.

There have been numerous cases of draft dodgers fleeing the country.

Some 4.3 million Ukrainians were living in European Union countries as of January, 2024, of whom about 860,000 are adult men, the Eurostat database estimated.

In practice, the suspension means military age men now living abroad will be unable to renew expiring passports or obtain new ones or receive official documents such as marriage certificates.

Mobilisation law

The suspension will remain in effect until the mobilisation law and its regulations enter force on May 18, the foreign ministry said.

Under the mobilisation law, all military-age men will be required to report to draft offices to update their papers, remotely or in person within 60 days. Military-age men abroad will need those papers to receive consular services.

The suspension means people hoping to rush through urgent consular services before the law comes into effect will not be able to do so.

Volodymyr Fesenko, a Kyiv-based political analyst, said the move looked like an attempt to pressure men to comply with the new legislation coming into force and to force them to submit their current personal data to the military authorities.

He said it was unlikely to prove effective, adding: “But sooner or later many men will have to choose whether to confirm their Ukrainian citizenship.”

Ukraine imposed martial law at the start of the full-scale war, banning men aged 18 to 60 from travelling abroad without special dispensation and beginning a rolling mobilisation of civilian men into the armed forces.

Russian forces are slowly advancing in eastern Ukraine, taking advantage of acute shortages of artillery shells and depleted ranks of exhausted Ukrainian soldiers, some of whom have been fighting since the start of the invasion or earlier.

A Ukrainian man living in Warsaw, who asked not to be named, told Reuters by telephone he thought the suspension would alienate citizens loyal to Kyiv.

Another Ukrainian, 21-year-old Anatoly Nezgoduk, who is studying in Canada, said: “I understand very well that there is a war in our country, so I can’t call this move weird, illegal or incorrect.

“In a way, this distances me from Ukraine’s official representation abroad.”

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa in Gdansk, Anastasiia Malenko, Felix Hoske, Olena Harmash and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Ed Osmond and Gareth Jones)


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  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    I hope this NATO hybrid war will bring the USA and allies to a realization that the delay in funding gets Ukrainians killed like sitting ducks.
    Next funding will have to includes personnel to operate those weapons.
    Russia started a dialogue in 2008 dealing with Ukraine and NATO, obviously no one bothered to heed that.
    In 2014 after a western sponsored uprising against a Russia aligned Ukrainian president(according to Russia), Creamea was annexed by Russia.
    150000 troops were amassed on the border of Ukraine for almost a year, USA was busy getting hot and cold with one ex president claiming friendship with Putin.
    Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 then the decision was to supply weapons that won’t provoke Russia using Ukraine bodies behind them, this is significant because the person behind the weapon knows how far he must use the weapon unless it’s not a war but a NATO weapons testing ground.
    It’s easy to blame Russia for the illegal invasion despite concerns legitimate to them, but one must not be blinded in the role that USA and allies played prior and during this war.
    When Ukraine sponsors decide they are not just content with weakening Russia but realize that for Ukraine it is survival which will not be possible without militarily removing Russia from Ukraine territories including Creamea.

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