Ukraine Seeks Extradition of Evading Conscripts

Ukraine Seeks Extradition of Evading Conscripts

Ukrainian authorities, led by David Arakhamia, the head of the Servant of the People parliamentary faction, have intensified efforts to compel law enforcement agencies to seek the extradition of Ukrainian men who have left the country to avoid mandatory military service. The move comes as Ukraine grapples with a trend of citizens fleeing conscription.

President Volodymyr Zelensky initiated a general mobilization following Russia's invasion, calling upon eligible conscripts aged 18 to 60 to join the country's armed forces. However, a growing number of Ukrainian men have opted to leave the country in an attempt to evade military service, posing a significant challenge to Ukraine's war efforts.

While official statistics are unavailable, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Ukrainian men have successfully evaded mobilization and sought refuge abroad. Eurostat data indicates that 17.7% of the four million Ukrainians granted temporary protection in the European Union since the conflict's onset are men aged 18 to 64.

Austria, for example, is reported to have approximately 14,000 Ukrainian male refugees aged 18 to 54. Vienna, however, has taken a stance against deporting them, complicating Ukraine's extradition efforts.

The Czech Republic has clarified its position, stating that its extradition treaties do not cover crimes of a military or political nature. Poland estimates that around 80,000 Ukrainian men of military age may have entered the country since Russia's invasion, while Germany has registered more than 200,000 in the same age group.

Human rights organization Pro Asyl has argued that evading conscription is a human right, suggesting that the German government should resist Ukraine's extradition demands on these grounds.

In response to the challenges posed by evading conscripts, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has taken steps to update its list of illnesses that no longer exempt men from army service. Conditions such as cured tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, asymptomatic HIV, and certain mental and neurological disorders have been removed from the list of exemptions, in a bid to bolster the country's military resources. 

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