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19 May, 2024 08:25

Ukrainian truckers protest against mobilization law (VIDEO)

Dozens of trucks blocked a key highway connecting capital Kiev and the port of Odessa on Saturday, the news outlet Strana reported
Ukrainian truckers protest against mobilization law (VIDEO)

Ukrainian truckers staged major protests against the country’s new mobilization law on Saturday, the news outlet Strana has reported. According to new legislation, which came into force on May 18, the drivers can be drafted into the military when they re-enter the country from abroad.

“We need to staff the reserves,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview with AFP on Friday, explaining measures taken to bolster the country’s ranks. “A large number” of Kiev’s brigades “are empty,” which doesn’t allow for the “normal rotation” of troops, he complained.

Dozens of trucks blocked a key highway connecting Ukraine’s capital Kiev and the port city of Odessa, the outlet reported on Friday.

According to a video posted on Telegram by one of the participants of the protests, the drivers came from all over Ukraine, representing Kiev, Odessa, Nikolaev, Vinnitsa, Cherkassy, Ivano-Frankovsk, Chernigov and other cities.

The trucker said that he and his fellow teamsters had staged the event to draw public attention to what he described as the “draconian laws of half-legitimate Zelensky authorities.”

Zelensky has refused to hold the presidential election which had been scheduled to take place in late March, citing martial law being in force in the country due to the conflict with Russia. His five-year term in office had been set to expire on May 20.

The Association of International Road Carriers of Ukraine complained last month that several truckers had been snatched by enlistment officers in the Transcarpathia Region as they were returning from the EU. The organization said that it has addressed the government, asking for the practice to stop, arguing that the transportation of cargo is a vital activity for the country’s economy.

An unnamed representative of a Ukrainian transport company told Strana.ua earlier in May that cases have been on the rise where drivers have abandoned their trucks after crossing into the EU and fled to avoid mobilization. Some men have been obtaining trucker licenses especially for that purpose, the source said.

Zelensky signed a harsh new mobilization law in April amid the troop shortages his country has experienced on the front line. The legislation lowers the conscription age from 27 to 25, greatly expands the powers of enlistment officers and introduces assorted restrictions for draft dodgers.

Late last month, then-Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the Ukrainian military’s losses since the beginning of the year have already surpassed 111,000 troops.

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