Ukraine suspends visa renewals for military-aged Ukrainians living overseas as punishment for NOT DYING in battle with Russia
04/25/2024 // Cassie B. // Views

The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs has announced that the country’s consulates abroad will be temporarily suspending all services to men aged 18 to 60 in what appears to be nothing more than a bid to force them to return home so they can fight in the war.

The country is currently grappling with a shortage of troops as they continue to battle Russia and hold the front line. The Russian army is currently much larger and better equipped than its Ukrainian counterpart, and Ukraine appears to be fighting a losing battle.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explained the motivation for the measures in a statement on X, writing: "How it looks like now: a man of conscription age went abroad, showed his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state. It does not work this way. Our country is at war. Staying abroad does not relieve a citizen of his or her duties to the Homeland."

The foreign ministry will be clarifying what military-aged men need to do to obtain consular services soon, but it is almost certain they will be forced to return home. A published letter indicated Ukrainian consulates will only issue documents to men in this age range abroad that enable them to return home to Ukraine, and the consulates in Prague and Barcelona have already stopped offering services to men of military age.

The state passport service issued a statement of its own indicating it cannot help Ukrainians abroad, saying: "Unfortunately, due to technical reasons, the issuance of ready-made documents in foreign branches of SE (State Enterprise) Document has been suspended."

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According to the Eurostat database, around 4.3 million Ukrainians are currently registered in EU countries. Around 20% of them, or 860,000, are adult men.

Right now, Ukrainian men who are younger than 60 are forbidden from traveling abroad under martial law, but many are trying to avoid the draft by either attempting to bribe officials or by hiding somewhere within the country.

The move comes as a controversial new law is set to go into effect next month requiring men of military age to report to draft offices in the country to update their papers within a period of 60 days; those who are abroad would need these papers if they want to obtain consular services.

They also recently lowered the age of mobilization by two years from to age 27 to 25 in an effort to boost the military's depleted ranks. It is believed the new law, which also eliminated certain draft exemptions and toughened the penalties for draft dodgers, could add around 50,000 troops to the country’s military, as some of those in this age range may be unfit for service, have deferment rights, or already be part of the reserve.

This is only a fraction of the 500,000 troops that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he wanted to mobilize in December, although he later said that the figure was incorrect. Their troops reportedly numbered 800,000 in October, including around 300,000 serving on the front lines.

Ukraine will do whatever it takes to bolster its troop numbers

Military analysts report that the average age of soldiers on both sides is above 40.

There are some concerns that reducing the minimum conscription age means that more young adults will be forced out of the workforce, which could add to the country’s economic problems. However, with Russian forces expected to launch a major push in the coming weeks or months, Kiev is reportedly looking to bolster its troop numbers using whatever means possible.

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