Ukrainians take desperate measures to escape forced drafting by Zelensky govt

| Updated: 13 March, 2023 8:41 pm IST

Ukraine has recently ramped up its drafting exercise with citizens taking desperate measures to escape forced military recruitment. Reports suggest that unwilling citizens resort to actions like changing into women’s clothes, performing sham marriages, bribing doctors to give a negative fitness report to avoid being forcefully inducted into the Army.

Earlier, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) announced it had blocked 26 Telegram channels that were allegedly helping people of military age avoid mobilization. The news came following a February 26 report in The Economist that said, “Ukraine has visibly stepped up mobilization activities in the first two months of this year. There have been reports of draft notices issued (and sometimes violently enforced) at military funerals in Lviv, checkpoints in Kharkiv, shopping centres in Kyiv, and on street corners in Odesa.”

As per the report, citizens are avoiding public spots with officials hunting for civilians to be recruited into the military. Locals communicate with each other through social media channels sharing information on where recruitment officers might be snooping.

In February, President Volodymyr Zelensky extended martial law and general-mobilisation legislation for the sixth time. But there have been big changes since December. Previously only members of Ukraine’s draft commission were allowed to issue notices, and only to home addresses. Now a wider group of officials can issue the two-part document, with no geographical limitation.

In the first phase of drafting most of the recruits were queuing up voluntarily. However, increasingly, the initial zest for fighting back against Russians has worn off, and people are no longer willing to go to the front to fight a war that extended for over a year now.

According to the latest UN human rights office (OHCHR) data, at least 8,000 non-combatants have been confirmed killed – with nearly 13,300 injured – since the Russian invasion on 24 February last year. The true number is likely to be substantially higher, as OHCHR staff have repeated on many occasions. Up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion till the end of last year, as per government officials in Ukraine, reported the BBC. On average 100 to 200 Ukrainian soldiers have been dying.


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