Escape attempts stopped: Kiev’s border guards catch 20,000 conscripts

Since Russia attacked Ukraine almost 18 months ago, Ukrainian border guards have prevented the departure of more than 20,000 conscripts. “From February 24 of last year to date, around 14,600 people who tried to leave the country illegally have been stopped,” said spokesman for the border guard Andriy Demchenko in a television interview.

In addition, about 6,200 men were detained with bogus exit permits. Many Ukrainians want to escape military service. According to Demchenko, many were caught at the natural border with Romania and Moldova. Men between the ages of 18 and 60 are predominantly affected. It became known that at least 19 men drowned in the Tyssa (Tisza) river alone, which borders Romania and Hungary. Some succumbed to the cold while fleeing across the Carpathians. With the beginning of the war, general mobilization and a ban on leaving the country for men between the ages of 18 and 60 was issued.

Black market for military service documents

According to Eurostat, however, more than 650,000 Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 64 are registered as refugees in the 27 EU countries as well as in Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Ukraine is currently examining whether the repatriation of illegally emigrated conscripts from EU countries and other countries is possible. The black market for military service exemption documents is booming in Ukraine. According to the judiciary, such a document currently costs more than 10,000 euros following raids on the instructions of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Jean Harris

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