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28 Dec, 2023 13:43

Ukrainians in Poland ‘queuing for passports’ (PHOTOS)

Kiev wants to coerce draft dodgers to return home and fight Russia with various restrictions
Ukrainians in Poland ‘queuing for passports’ (PHOTOS)

Media reports indicate a surge in attendance of Ukrainian consular offices in some European nations, as Kiev seeks to ramp up the mobilization of troops by implementing a major reform that threatens harsh punishments for draft dodgers.

Images supporting the development were published on X (formerly Twitter) by Polish-based journalist Dmitry Borodovoy on Wednesday. A short video and photos showed a large group of people in line in front of a Ukrainian passport service office in Warsaw.

Borodovoy said they were Ukrainians, who were apparently sent into a panic by a draft law on mobilization currently under consideration by the Ukrainian parliament.

Some Ukrainian news outlets shared similar images purportedly shot in other European cities this week. Klymenko Time claimed a queue in Valencia, Spain reached the length of 550 people, forcing Ukrainians to spend the night to keep their places.

Novoe Izdanie published photos, which it said were taken in Berlin, Krakow, Prague, and Cologne and shared online by Ukrainian citizens.

Even before the draft law was submitted to parliament on Monday, some officials indicated that it would target Ukrainian men residing on foreign soil, whom Kiev considers eligible for conscription. MP Vadim Ivchenko said such people would be denied consular services. That would mean they would not be able to renew their passports, undermining their legal status in hosting nations.

Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets said last week that his government could “hand over” able-bodied men, whom the Baltic nation had sheltered since the Ukraine conflict escalated last year. He estimated the number of such individuals to be around 7,000.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the country may enroll up to 500,000 people into the army, after suffering heavy losses in an attempt to breach Russian defensive lines in the summer. The operation failed to produce any significant territorial gains for Ukraine.

In a contrasting development this week, Russian troops captured the town of Maryinka near Donetsk, which has served as a key Ukrainian position for years.

Kiev has declared a return to pre-2014 borders as the only outcome of the conflict that it would accept. Western leaders have pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to achieve that.