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18 Jan, 2024 14:41

Ukrainian men denied public healthcare unless they report for draft – media

Medics are allegedly demanding fighting-age males collaborate with mobilization centers before admitting them for treatment
Ukrainian men denied public healthcare unless they report for draft – media

Ukrainian men who may be eligible for military service are required to present paperwork from recruitment centers before they can be admitted for treatment in public hospitals, the Strana outlet reported on Thursday, citing various sources from around the country.

The claim that the public healthcare system is cooperating with the defense ministry has come as mass emigration and draft dodging undermine Kiev’s efforts to mobilize additional troops.

Last June, a local official in Ivano-Frankivsk Region in western Ukrainian caused a national uproar, when he announced that men of military service age who fail to report to recruitment centers for possible draft would not be admitted to regional hospitals for non-emergency treatment. Legal experts said at the time that the restriction was unconstitutional and officials later peddled back on it.

However, now an informal campaign nudging Ukrainians into draft is underway, Strana claimed, citing some anecdotes. One alleged case involved a father, who was asked to get a certificate from draft officials before his son could be treated. The man threatened to file a complaint with the police and the medics backed off, the report said.

The purported push to enlist comes through the government-operated medical system and has reportedly resulted in increased demand for private healthcare. A representative of a trade association told Strana that private hospitals in Kiev saw an uptake of customers of 20 to 30% last autumn.

“Previously, there was roughly the same number of men and women being hospitalized. Now, the number of men has doubled,” a doctor working at a private clinic told the outlet.

The Ukrainian government is attempting to enlist more men after its armed forces sustained heavy losses during last year’s attempted counteroffensive. President Zelensky has stated that the military wants up to 500,000 new recruits.

A draft law was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament last month that would help the mobilization efforts. One major change would be a demand for fighting-age men to report for duty, as opposed to a requirement for draft centers to summon potential recruits individually. Draft dodgers would be denied some of their core rights, such as access to social benefits and the ability to manage their property, according to the proposed amendments.

Lawmakers rejected the initial variant last week, but the defense ministry is set to produce a new one for MPs to consider shortly.

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