After thousands of Ukrainians fled mobilization, Poland signals it may send them back

There are currently around 80,000 Ukrainians of draft age in Poland, according to Polish Border Guard data, but Ukraine is considering prosecuting men who fled the country to avoid the military draft

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk

Up to 80,000 Ukrainian men are at risk of deportation to Ukraine as the country’s counteroffensive is bogged down in intense fighting in the east. The head of the parliamentary faction of the Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian parliament, Davyd Arakhamia, stated a few days ago that Ukrainians who fled the country to avoid mobilization could be subject to extradition, regardless of where they are staying.

According to him, leaving the country after the Russian invasion was possible due to corruption and falsification of documents.

Arakhamia, who sits on the parliamentary commission for national security, defense, and intelligence, stated that Ukrainians paid tens of millions of dollars for the opportunity to escape mobilization. This money was used to bribe officials and fabricate disability certificates. For fake documents, people paid up to $15,000. The politician says he is under no illusions that such corruption occurred in every region of the country.

Corruption in military medical commissions was discussed during the last meeting of the National Security Council attended by President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Council decided that disability certificates issued since the beginning of the Russian aggression will be subject to verification.

During the checks, emphasis will be placed on individuals who left the country with such certificates. In addition, digitization of the system for issuing these documents is planned to reduce corruption.

As the Polish paper Rzeczpospolita discovered, around 80,000 Ukrainian men of draft age have entered Poland since the war began. The Border Guard headquarters, which collected this data, stressed however that there is no information on how many of them met the mobilization requirements.

Fedir Wenyslavski from the Ukrainian National Security Committee commented on the data in a conversation with the paper. He assessed that this is a significant number and stated that the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office may prosecute citizens who raise suspicions about draft dodging. The extradition of such persons will be decided by a Polish court.

Currently, based on existing agreements, Poland extradites to Ukraine its citizens who have been detained for participating in the illegal smuggling of migrants across the border.

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