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25 Sep, 2023 11:50

Female pharmacists fleeing Ukraine – media

Pharmacies are reportedly facing staff shortages after women specialists were ordered to report to conscription offices
Female pharmacists fleeing Ukraine – media

A recent change in Ukrainian conscription rules has obliged female medics and pharmacists to show up to the nearest draft office to update their personal data for possible enlistment. There was reportedly a wave of resignations from drug stores ahead of the decree going into force.

“Owners of pharmacies are in a panic. People are resigning and moving to Europe before they could be stopped at the border,” Elena Prudnikova, the head of a Ukrainian pharmaceutical business association, told online news outlet Strana.ua last Friday.

“Who knows who would work, considering that the industry is already in a serious crisis,” she added.

Ukrainian law offers women of certain professions aged 18 to 60 the option to register with conscription authorities so that they can be drafted as needed.

The Defense Ministry has the authority to make registration a requirement and did so for medics and pharmacists earlier this month. The mandate comes into force on October 1. Kiev has also ramped up its drive to replenish its military ranks by relaxing eligibility.

Potential draftees are banned from leaving the country without a special waiver. According to local media, enforcing the rule for women may be challenging since Ukraine has yet to launch an electronic database in which border control officers can check travelers. However, a bill is floating in the parliament for such a register.

“Many female medics are urgently preparing to leave for Europe,” Vasily Voskboynik, the head of a Ukrainian association of international staffing agencies, told the outlet.

“With their professions, they have good chances to find employment there,” he noted.

The mandatory registration has been in the works since last year, but the Defense Ministry’s first attempt to order it sparked mass public outrage, forcing a postponement.

Kiev is struggling to replenish its military units after a costly summer counteroffensive against Russian positions. Russian President Vladimir Putin estimated this month that Ukraine had lost over 71,000 troops in the push.

“I am absolutely ready to shoot myself in the leg rather than ever go back to the front,” a 20-year-old Ukrainian deserter told The Times last week.

He explained that he had received two injuries on the battlefield and did not want to return “after seeing so much corruption and incompetence” in the Ukrainian military. He said he fled his unit after doctors cleared him for frontline duty despite bullet fragments left in his shoulder.