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7 May, 2024 01:05

Six more Ukrainians drown trying to flee abroad – media

Dozens have lost their lives in the treacherous mountain river waters while attempting to evade the draft
Six more Ukrainians drown trying to flee abroad – media

Six bodies were discovered in the Tisza River on Ukraine’s western border on Monday, according to a local journalist. Dozens of people have reportedly died in the river while attempting to flee Ukraine since Kiev ramped up its conscription efforts.

The Ukrainian border guard officially confirmed one death on Monday, identified as an unknown middle-aged man whose body showed signs of prolonged time in the water. The corpse was discovered by their Romanian counterparts on the opposite side of the border. The incident marks the 25th case over the past two years, the border guard said.

According to local media reports however, six bodies were found on Monday, four of them on the Ukrainian side and two on the Romanian side of the Tisza. “One of the men had recently turned 20 years old,” local journalist Vitaly Glagola wrote on Telegram, warning of the dangers of attempting to cross the treacherous mountain river.

President Vladimir Zelensky made it illegal for Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 to leave the country without special permission, declaring martial law after the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022. In April this year, Zelensky signed a new mobilization bill into law, introducing harsher conscription rules.

General Aleksandr Pavlyuk, who heads the Ukrainian Land Forces, argued in March that any sympathy for the “poor people drowning in the Tisza” undermines the mobilization effort. Amid the tightening conscription efforts, many Ukrainians are not willing to join the armed forces, a member of the neo-Nazi Azov regiment told local news service TSN last month. Men “do whatever they come up with” to avoid being drafted, even “swimming across the Tisza River and drowning themselves,” the soldier said.

Earlier on Monday, the Ukrainian Border Guard bragged about capturing a 44-year-old man dressed in women’s clothing as he tried to illegally cross into Romania.

Kiev is struggling to replenish the losses it has sustained throughout the conflict with Russia, although it has not officially confirmed the number of casualties. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev has lost more than 111,000 servicemen this year alone, while its total losses throughout the conflict have amounted to around half a million troops.