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8 Apr, 2024 17:59

Ukraine spares clowns from military draft – RIA

Circus performers have been declared a category of special strategic importance not subject to conscription
Ukraine spares clowns from military draft – RIA

The government in Kiev has designated several circus troupes as enterprises of critical importance, whose employees will be exempt from mobilization, two lawmakers confirmed on Monday.

Last week, President Vladimir Zelensky enacted changes to the draft allowing the army to conscript 25-year-olds and abolishing several categories of exemptions from military service. However, certain state employees can still avoid the draft if their work is considered ‘critical’.

The Traveling Circus of Ukraine and five other troupes have been designated as “critically important enterprises... for the functioning of the economy and ensuring the livelihoods of the population during a special period,” Verkhovna Rada member Yaroslav Zheleznyak wrote on his Telegram channel. 

The circus designation was confirmed by another MP, Alexey Goncharenko, who said that this did not come as a surprise, since the mobilization and exemption procedures have “turned into a circus long ago.”

According to Goncharenko, the list of strategically important enterprises – whose employees are thereby exempt from the draft – does not include the defense industry but does apply to producers of paint and plaster, video game publishers, and even a company that breeds camels.

Zheleznyak quipped that those must be special “combat camels,” otherwise he was at a total loss to explain why they might be exempt.

In addition to lowering the mobilization age, Zelensky’s reforms envision creating an electronic database of eligible conscripts. That way, Ukrainians won’t be able to avoid call-up papers, as many have been doing. Another amendment has abolished a range of medical disabilities disqualifying one from military service, requiring certain disease sufferers to face a medical commission again.

Ukraine has had to rely on forced conscription to replenish its frontline units, due to a shortage of volunteers and a high number of battlefield casualties. Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that Kiev has lost over 80,000 troops over the past two months alone.