As Ukraine's frontline forces experience a decline in manpower, military leaders are growing increasingly desperate to find new recruits to bolster their counteroffensive against Russia. However, there has been a significant decrease in the number of young people volunteering for this daunting task, according to Remix News.
According to the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, the forceful mobilization of young men by Ukrainian military recruitment officers has been taking place for approximately a year and a half.
“Many conscripted men are taken straight off the street by uniformed men,” the report states. “Most recently in Subcarpathia, a surveillance camera recorded the overreach of the authorities as a man trying to go to a store was kidnapped from his bicycle in broad daylight.”
In the small village of the Municipal District of Munkács, a man was abducted in broad daylight by police and conscription officers. The incident occurred on a street, and the man's bicycle was left abandoned on the road.
Yet another video posted online showed a clip of a young man being shoved against his will into a burgundy army minibus in Mukachevo, Transcarpathia.
Remix News noted further:
Similar videos have been posted from other major cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv and Odessa.
Videos of such instances are going viral on messaging apps such as Telegram and Viber, which can to an extent bypass the freedom of information restrictions that are now very evident across both Ukraine and Russia.
Some of the accounts posting this content have an increasingly large number of followers — upwards of 100,000 — with some accounts geotracking recruitment patrols in real time to help others evade what is known colloquially as the “love letter.”
Due to the rising presence of unannounced mobile checkpoints in various regions across Ukraine, young individuals are choosing to remain within the safety of their homes. The checkpoints are set up by military recruiters with the intention of catching Ukrainian men of military age off guard and compelling them into conscription.
The incidents of excesses are not confined to Transcarpathia alone. In Vinnytsia, a city situated between Kyiv and Odessa, similar acts have been reported. A circulating video depicts employees of the local military auxiliary command forcefully pushing individuals into a luxury vehicle against their will.
“Many young people no longer leave their homes. There’s always a risk. You have to be really careful and look around in case there’s any danger. It’s really stressful,” one young Ukrainian man said in an interview with network France 24.
“Why don’t young people want to be drafted into the army? Because they know the price of holding the frontlines. It costs thousands of lives,” he noted further.
Andrii Novak, a Ukrainian lawyer and military affairs specialist, has highlighted that corruption within the ranks of military recruiters continues to be prevalent. According to Novak, certain conscripting officers are exploiting the system for personal gain, utilizing corrupt practices to amass wealth quickly.
“Because of corruption, there are illegal methods (to avoid the war), such as paying off the people from the armed forces commissary or paying for a false certificate of disability,” he told the French network.
Over the past year and a half, military recruitment offices in Ukraine have gained a notorious reputation as a breeding ground for corruption. It is widely acknowledged that mobilization can be evaded with an average payment of 7,000 euros. Some officers have amassed significant fortunes through these illicit practices, and they do not shy away from flaunting their newfound wealth, often arriving at work in brand-new luxury cars, the outlet reported.