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23 Apr, 2024 12:35

Ukraine to deny consular services to draft dodgers abroad

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has declared that Ukrainian embassy staff will not serve fighting-aged men living abroad
Ukraine to deny consular services to draft dodgers abroad

Ukrainian consular offices will not serve fighting-age men living abroad who are unwilling to risk their lives for their country’s survival, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Tuesday.

Kiev’s diplomatic missions in several Western nations stopped processing such service requests on Tuesday, according to multiple Ukrainian media reports. Documents that have been finalized for fighting-age Ukrainian men are being withheld, reports claim.

Kuleba confirmed in a social media post on Tuesday that he had ordered the policy change and that it is meant to encourage men to come back to Ukraine for possible call up for military service.

”How it looks like now: a man of conscription age went abroad, showed his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state. It does not work this way. Our country is at war,” he wrote.

The order to deny consular services to all men aged 18 to 60 was first revealed by Ukrainian media on Monday. Kuleba has since described his decision as “fair” and in line with the controversial military mobilization reforms, which President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law this month. The changes include various punishments for avoiding the draft.

According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc. Kiev has identified that pool as a significant untapped source of manpower for the armed forces.

When they come into force next month Zelensky's reforms will lower the draft age from 27 to 25, tighten exemptions and oblige potential conscripts to update their personal data with the Defense Ministry.

All men aged 18 to 60, regardless of eligibility, will be required to carry papers confirming their registration with a conscription office.

Asked in early April how many troops Kiev intended to mobilize, Zelensky dodged the question and claimed that Moscow had plans to enroll 300,000 additional servicemen. Russian officials denied his claim, pointing out that its military attracts enough volunteers to meet personnel goals.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday that Ukrainian military losses since February 2022, when the hostilities began, were approaching 500,000.