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19 Dec, 2023 06:27

Ukrainians tell MP they would give up citizenship to avoid conscription

Some 74% of men and 65% of women said they would opt to hand over their passports in Facebook surveys
Ukrainians tell MP they would give up citizenship to avoid conscription

A majority of Ukrainians responding to a Facebook poll by a leading lawmaker have said they would be willing to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid being drafted into the military.

In a series of Facebook posts on Monday, Mariana Bezuglaya, an MP from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling party, initially asked female followers if they would give up their Ukrainian passports to avoid potential forced mobilization to “rear positions” in the military industry. Even though the lawmaker emphasized that frontline combat positions are currently out of the question for women, some 65% of the more than 3,800 respondents said they would renounce their citizenship rather than take the risk.

In two follow-up polls, the MP wondered if women would at least consider registering with the military authorities for potential mobilization in the future, in exchange for reopening the borders for men, or for the demobilization of those who have already served for two years. Only 17% and 22% of respondents agreed, respectively.

In her last “experimental survey” on Monday, Bezuglaya addressed men with a similar question: “In order not to be mobilized, am I ready to renounce Ukrainian citizenship?” Over 4,300 users took part in the poll, with 73% claiming that retaining their Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk.

Bezuglaya is currently deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, and is best known for proposing a bill in May 2022 that would have allowed Ukrainian officers to execute soldiers for insubordination without a trial.

Earlier this month, the lawmaker marked International Volunteer Day by thanking everyone who had already signed up to the military, but demanded more enlistment and urged women to join the ranks. The 35-year-old claimed she had undergone military training herself in 2015, when the government in Kiev was waging its “anti-terrorist operation” against the residents of Donbass.

Kiev’s push to recruit more troops follows its underwhelming summer counteroffensive, which according to estimates by the Russian Defense Ministry has cost Ukraine over 125,000 troops. 

Last month, Zelensky promised a “comprehensive proposal” to reform the conscription system, which has yet to be announced. According to Russian intelligence, Ukraine’s backers in the West have demanded that the draft be expanded to teenagers, older men, and women.

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