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3 Jan, 2024 14:50

Ukraine considers exempting men earning over $875 a month from military draft – Forbes

According to average salary statistics, only 15% of Ukrainians would have qualified in 2023
Ukraine considers exempting men earning over $875 a month from military draft – Forbes

Ukrainian authorities are entertaining the idea of exempting high earners from the draft if they pay their dues in taxes, Forbes has reported, citing anonymous sources from President Vladimir Zelensky’s office. The monthly income threshold reportedly under consideration would leave most Ukrainians ineligible to benefit from the scheme.

Last month, President Zelensky claimed that the military had asked him to mobilize another 450,000-500,000 people. Valery Zaluzhny, Kiev’s top general, later effectively denied making such a request. Earlier in December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that Kiev had lost more than 383,000 troops, both killed and wounded, since the start of hostilities in February 2022.

In its report on Monday, Forbes' source claimed that the presidential administration has been discussing expanding the criteria under which draft exemptions are granted to include employees of the ‘critical sectors’ of the economy and those contributing a set minimum in taxes.

The media outlet, citing an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, wrote that the threshold discussed last Thursday amounted to 6,000 hryvnias ($157) in taxes per month, which translates to a salary of 33,400 hryvnias ($875). Four separate sources from the country’s parliament confirmed such discussions to Forbes, noting that the idea was still a work in progress.

One anonymous staffer summarized the concept: “You either defend the country in the Ukrainian Armed Forces or support the armed forces and the state economically.” The article noted that President Zelensky’s New Year address to the nation featured a similar refrain.

Another source pointed out that the scheme would encourage workers to “walk out of the shadow and pay taxes.

If the version envisaging the 33,400-hryvnia monthly salary threshold were approved, 22% more of an employee’s salary would also be withheld by the employer, who is obliged to pay a social contribution.

Forbes alleged that other variations have been suggested, with thresholds of 35,000 and 66,000 hryvnias, respectively.

Meanwhile, according to the salaryexplorer.com website, the average monthly salary in Ukraine was 23,000 hryvnias in 2023, with only 15% of the population earning above the 33,400 hryvnia mark.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian outlet Strana.ua quoted people trying to cross into Poland as saying that all men, including those transporting humanitarian aid and physically impaired, are now required by border guards to present a special certificate issued by a military recruitment office. Previously, these exempted categories had to simply show a valid document confirming their health status or involvement in humanitarian activities to officials.