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10 Mar, 2024 18:08

Ukrainian ‘draft dodgers’ brutally beaten during detention (VIDEOS)

Border guards have detained 34 men seeking to cross into Romania to allegedly avoid being drafted
Ukrainian ‘draft dodgers’ brutally beaten during detention (VIDEOS)

Ukrainian border guards and domestic security officers detained dozens of men seeking to cross into Romania earlier this week, according to multiple media outlets. Those detained were reportedly trying to escape the military draft.

A total of 35 people were detained in just one raid, the Ukrainian border guard service said in a statement on Telegram on March 8. The suspected offenders were traveling in the cargo compartment of a minibus when the vehicle was stopped by security officers.

Photos and videos published by the New Voice (NV) outlet show supposed border guards and security officers dressed in plain clothes dragging the men out of a minibus and throwing them to the ground and literally piling them into the minibus. Some of the officers are seen hitting the men they are dragging from the vehicle on their backs.

Another clip published by the Strana outlet shows one of those detained, presumed to be the driver, lying on the ground with a security officer kneeling on his neck. The man recording the video is then seen beating the alleged driver and swearing at him.

The driver of the minibus is suspected of organizing illegal border crossings, the statement said, adding that the man had been under surveillance by Ukraine’s domestic security service (SBU) for quite some time. He had allegedly received €10,000 (nearly $11,000) from each of his “clients” for helping them escape Ukraine, the border guards said.

The officials did not provide any details as to why more than 30 people tried to illegally cross the Ukrainian border with Romania, but multiple national media outlets, including state-run Channel 24, referred to those detained as “draft dodgers.”

The Ukrainian authorities have not commented on the actions of the security officers. Photos released by the border guard only show those detained on their knees on the ground in front of SBU operatives.

According to Ukrainian media reports, this week’s incident involved one of the highest numbers of suspected draft dodgers detained in a single raid. A similar incident took place in early February, when a total of 38 men were stopped by the border guards as they sought to cross from Ukraine into Hungary in two minibuses.

Draft dodging has become an increasingly pressing issue for Kiev over the course of its conflict with Moscow. Many draft dodgers try to escape from Ukraine illegally. Around 20,000 people were smuggled across the border as of the end of August 2023, according to BBC calculations. The British broadcaster also reported that attempted illegal crossings were taking place on a daily basis.

The authorities have recently been looking for various ways to boost the draft numbers. In January, Ukrainian media reported that fighting-age males were to be denied healthcare unless they reported for the draft. In February, a Ukrainian lawmaker, Vadim Ivchenko, suggested barring draft dodgers and their children from the nation’s universities. In early March, Justice Minister Denis Malyuska called on convicted criminals to be drafted into military service.