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6 May, 2024 11:49

Over 100 Ukrainians blocked from leaving country every day – border service

Those forced to stay back are either not eligible or lack the proper documentation, spokesman Andrey Demchenko has said
Over 100 Ukrainians blocked from leaving country every day – border service

The Ukrainian authorities are stopping more than 100 people from leaving the country each day during the ongoing mobilization campaign, Andrey Demchenko, the spokesman for the country’s Border Service, has said.

Kiev announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022 under which all men aged 18 to 60, with few exceptions, were prohibited from leaving the country on the grounds that they could be called up for military service. According to local media reports, however, even those who are eligible to go abroad, including parents with several minors and disabled people, have faced significant obstacles in crossing the border.

Speaking on national TV on Sunday, Demchenko noted that his department stops around 120-150 people daily from traveling abroad. He explained that those individuals either “do not fall under the pass category” or “do not have the necessary documents giving the right to cross the border.” 

The official also warned that the rules for exiting Ukraine could be subject to change once the new mobilization law fully comes into force next week, although he added that any alterations are unlikely to be drastic. The legislation, signed into law by President Vladimir Zelensky last month, requires, among other things, that all Ukrainians “update data” about themselves with the military authorities, while requiring all men eligible for conscription to carry their military IDs with them at all times.

Demchenko recalled that the new law has certain provisions that apply to citizens who have a deferment from military service. “Therefore, perhaps some changes in the rules of border crossing could be expected. They need to be considered and approved by the government,” he added.

In recent weeks, the Ukrainian authorities have been on a campaign to replenish the losses in manpower sustained in the conflict with Russia. Apart from simplifying draft procedures, Zelensky signed a law last month lowering the conscription age for men from 27 to 25.

However, Kiev’s long-running mobilization campaign has been marred by wide-spread corruption, prompting Zelensky to fire all senior regional draft officials last year. Draft evasion has also been rampant. Demchenko reported last December as many as 25 people were being detained each day for evading enlistment.

On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Kiev had lost more than 111,000 service members in 2024 alone. Last month, he said that Ukraine’s losses amounted to nearly half a million troops since the hostilities began in February 2022.