Draft official tells Spanish newspaper El Pais: Ukrainians are rejecting the army
By Kevin Hughes // May 17, 2024

Ukrainian troops assigned to search for draft dodgers have complained of "large-scale" public resistance, based on a report from the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

In early May, a reporter from the news outlet was embedded with a military patrol tracking down draft dodgers in Sumy Region in northern Ukraine. The report was issued recently on the condition that no photo evidence of conflicts between the troops and civilians would be included.

"We have a large-scale social rejection of the army," the PR officer who organized the opportunity and set the restriction said.

The newspaper did not mention whether it saw any arguments. The military group was mostly manned by veteran soldiers who had suffered mental and physical injuries in combat and were considered unfit for frontline duty.

A ranking officer named Igor showed resentment for people who obtained exemptions from recruitment. "We have met men over 40 who are studying at university. When the war ends, we will be the most educated country in the world," Igor mockingly said alluding to one of the legal ways to evade the draft.

The patrol searched a small town since rural areas have greater mobilization possibility because "people in the city are more educated and have more ways to get away," Igor stated.

The settlement, Stepanovka, has a population of about 5,000. Its administration told El Pais that 25 percent of fighting-age men there have already been enlisted.

Resistance grew last year after Kyiv's costly "counteroffensive" against Russian positions in the east.

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A 29-year-old taxi driver in Sumy named Oleksi, who has an exemption, said he would probably volunteer if his city was under direct threat.

"Among my friends who are fighting, the only ones who have returned have done so crippled or in a coffin," Oleksi said.

Last month, Kyiv approved a mobilization reform intended to substantially increase recruitment which will enter into force later in May. At that point, the complete approach will change, as stated by Defense Ministry spokesman Dmitry Lazutkin.

"This situation where some people are fighting at the front lines while others are living their quiet lives, is obviously coming to an end. The whole country and the whole of society need to mobilize," Lazutkin said in an interview with Espresso TV on May 11.

As reported by the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian military has suffered over 111,000 casualties this year alone.

Kyiv urgently needs more troops. Tens of thousands of casualties and a tired army after over two years of war against Russia have destroyed the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

A new mobilization law, passed in April after months of delays because of its unpopularity, will come into effect on May 18.

Under the new mobilization law, disregarding these summonses will mean higher fines, with the risk of having your accounts frozen in addition to losing your driver's license. (Related: Kyiv to penalize, block bank accounts of draft dodgers amid serious shortage of soldiers.)

New mobilization law aims to recruit 400,000 new soldiers between the ages of 25 and 60

The goal is to recruit some 400,000 new soldiers between the ages of 25 and 60. On the streets, military personnel searching for men willing to go to the front lines are experiencing first-hand the hesitation of citizens to be mobilized.

Surveys suggest that only about 30 percent of the population is willing to join in the defense of the country.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's parliament has passed draft law No. 11079-1 on the voluntary mobilization of convicts to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The bill was approved in its second reading on May 8, with President Volodymyr Zelensky's signature required for it to be enforced.

Olena Shulyak, people's deputy and head of the pro-presidential "Servant of the People" party said the unification of all forces is necessary to survive in the face of "a total war against a more resourceful enemy." Shulyak added that "this draft law is about our struggle and preservation of Ukrainian statehood."

Those with longer sentences, particularly life sentences, will be instantly refused without the chance of review.

The draft law specifically forbids the mobilization of people convicted of the most serious crimes that threaten the national security of Ukraine like pre-meditated murder of two or more people; rape, sexual violence, molestation of minors; causing death while driving under the influence; illegal drug-related activities; and corruption offenses.

Shulyak stated that the approved draft law permits parole to be reviewed for military service for those convicted of involuntary manslaughter. In all cases, no more than three years should remain before the end of their sentence.

The bill permits prisoners to be released on parole for military service under contract. They can join the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces at their request but only after court approval.

The prisoners will be able to submit a statement at their penitentiary institution, go through a medical examination in prison, and then advance to the Territorial Recruitment Center. Only those prisoners who have an adequate level of physical training and are mentally healthy will be mobilized.

Follow UkraineWitness.com for more news about the military draft in Ukraine.

Watch the video below about Ukrainian border guards moving the bodies of drowned draft dodgers.

This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Ukrainian general: NOBODY can sit out the draft, and ALL MUST FIGHT.

Hungary offers sanctuary for Ukrainians dodging Kyiv’s draconian military draft.

Ukrainian men paying DISABLED WOMEN for marriage to escape the draft.

Sources include:


El Pais.com

Kyiv Post.com


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