8,000 Ukrainians face criminal charges for evading draft – media
Ukrainian investigators have opened more than 8,200 criminal cases over draft dodging since the escalation of conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February last year, Ukrainian outlet Vesti.ua reported on Monday.
The country’s Zakarpatye Region, which borders both Slovakia and Hungary, has launched at least 967 of these probes, the outlet reported, citing police sources. Eastern Dnepropetrovsk Region reportedly has 763 cases and southern Nikolayev Region comes in third, with some 644 probes. Lviv and Volyn Regions made it into the top five as well, with 555 and 491 draft dodging cases registered there, respectively.
While the number of criminal cases against people evading the draft remains arguably low, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly voiced their concerns over the actual scale of the problem in the country. In mid-October, for instance, Deputy Defense Minister Natalya Kalmykova claimed that “tens, hundreds of thousands of people” have been dodging the draft amid the conflict with Russia.
“Unfortunately, we see a lot of situations … when people don’t want and plan to avoid mobilization somehow, they need to defend their country,” she stated, adding that officials have been working on legislation that will “help settle this issue.”
Apart from closing in on the dodgers, the authorities have been actively exploring other options to bolster the ranks of the military, which was heavily battered in the botched summer counteroffensive, with Moscow estimating Kiev’s losses at more than 90,000 soldiers during the effort. The adopted measures include greatly loosening health requirements for the would-be recruits, and enabling people with various chronic conditions and mental health issues to serve.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Aleksey Danilov ultimately claimed that no Ukrainian citizen should be exempt from serving their country altogether, one way or another. The idea that every Ukrainian “has to fight a war or perform a service” was a “fundamental truth,” the official said.