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Law on new rules of mobilization comes into force in Ukraine

The new rules caused a storm of indignation among Ukrainian citizens of military age at the stage of the bill's introduction into the Verkhovna Rada at the end of last year

MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The scandalous law on new rules of mobilization in the Ukrainian army has come into force. With this law, the authorities aim to significantly replenish the army's troops, which have suffered heavy losses, by introducing a number of new strict rules of conscription.

The new rules caused a storm of indignation among Ukrainian citizens of military age at the stage of the bill's introduction into the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) at the end of last year. The problem of draft evasion, which has been acute in Ukraine for more than two years, has received a new impetus. Many Ukrainian men who do not want to go to the front decide to cross the state border illegally by any means: from forging documents, dressing up in women's clothes, to deadly swims across the turbulent, mountainous Tisa River on the border with Romania. According to the latest data from the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, about 30 drowned bodies have been pulled out of this river alone recently.

There are also those who attempt to swim across the Bug River on the border with Poland, to cross mountain trails into Slovakia or Hungary, and to cross the border with Moldova. Border guards catch them by the hundreds and hand them over to the military, but the flow of draft dodgers does not stop. However, most of the evaders try to hide, leave their homes, change their place of residence or, on the contrary, do not leave their homes for fear of being forcibly mobilized on the streets by military officers.


New requirements


The law significantly reduces the rights of Ukrainians. From now on, all persons liable for military service who are registered with the military in Ukraine, as well as those who are abroad, must update their information at military commissions within 60 days. Violators will be subject to heavy fines and may be deprived of the right to drive. In addition, all men between the ages of 18 and 60 must carry a military identification card at all times. Without this document, Ukrainians living abroad cannot receive consular services or extend the validity of their passports. In addition, men between the ages of 25 and 55 who received a second or third group disability after February 24, 2022, will have to undergo a second medical examination. Another provision of the law concerns the right of military commissions, with certain restrictions, to confiscate vehicles from citizens for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces.

The law also provides for categories of citizens who are not subject to mobilization. These are employees of law enforcement agencies, judges, ministers and their deputies, lawmakers and their assistants, employees of defense enterprises, fathers of many children and single fathers, as well as people with a confirmed disability.

In early April, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky already signed a series of laws aimed at tightening mobilization. The first lowered the age of mobilization from 27 to 25, the second abolished the category of "limited ability" to serve in the army, and the third provided for the creation of an electronic register of persons liable for military service. Later, the Verkhovna Rada passed bills on the mobilization of convicts and criminal liability for refusal to undergo a medical examination. On May 17, the president signed the law on the mobilization of convicts.


Adoption of bill


Last year, against the background of numerous losses of the Ukrainian military and difficulties with mobilization, Zelensky said that 500,000 more people should be drafted into the Ukrainian armed forces. The Verkhovna Rada considered such an initiative to be utopian, as there are no funds in the state budget to fulfill the plan announced by the head of state. Nevertheless, on December 25 a bill on new rules of mobilization was submitted to the parliament. Ukrainian human rights commissioner Dmitry Lubinets called a number of the document's provisions unconstitutional. After heated debates, parliamentarians sent the bill back to the government for revision on January 11.

On January 30, the Cabinet of Ministers registered a new version of the draft law on mobilization in the Verkhovna Rada, and on February 7 the document was adopted in the first reading. More than 4,000 amendments were submitted for the second reading, and their consideration was delayed until April 11, when the bill was finally passed in the second and final reading. On April 16 it was signed by Zelensky, the next day the document was published and according to the legislation it comes into force on May 18.