Zelensky speaks out on restricting rights of citizens
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has responded to his military's controversial announcement on restricting the movement of citizens, by instructing that this order had to be canceled as “mistakes should be corrected.”
On Tuesday, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny announced that all men between 18 and 60 liable for military service had to obtain permission from the local recruitment office if they wanted to leave their registered area. The following day, following widespread criticism and a reprimand from the president, the order was canceled.
“We sorted it out and reviewed the details of yesterday’s decision. The decision must be reversed,” Zelensky said at a press briefing on Wednesday, adding that “the details show that the decision was wrong.”
He stressed that there was “no misunderstanding” between him and the military.
“There is a war on. We must work as one team. This is how we work. If there is any inconsistency, then these mistakes must be corrected. They are small compared to the strength which our state, the Ukrainian people, and the Armed Forces demonstrate,” Zelensky said.
Soon after the publication of Zaluzhny’s order on Tuesday, Yevgenia Ryabeka, the coordinator of the movement of lawyers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, admitted that the wording of the document could be “a little incomprehensible.” She clarified that obtaining permission for moving around the country was necessary only for men who wanted to change their place of residence and their registration, while anyone else could travel around the country without additional authorization.
Despite these reassurances, Zaluzhny’s order immediately became the target of harsh criticism. Member of parliament Roksolana Pidlasa took to Facebook to condemn the “nonsense,” which, in her opinion, could have severe consequences.
“The decision that without the permission of the military commission men (and soon women) cannot leave their city of residence is nonsense that will cause a social explosion and the collapse of the economy,” she claimed.
On Tuesday evening, Zelensky addressed the matter, asking the military to not make decisions like this in the future without consulting him. He also pledged to sort this matter out.
On Wednesday afternoon, following a meeting with the president, Zaluzhny announced that yesterday’s decision had been canceled. He stressed that the order “did not create obligations or restrictions on the rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine.” However, the commander did admit it “caused numerous manipulations, misreadings and even illegal actions to prevent the movement of citizens,” which threatened to discredit the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Since the launch of the Russian military offensive at the end of February, men aged from 18 to 60 have been banned from leaving the territory of Ukraine.