BBC: 650,000 conscription-aged men have left Ukraine for Europe

Approximately 650,000 Ukrainian men aged 18-60 have left Ukraine for Europe since the start of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, BBC Ukraine reported on Nov. 24.

Citing data provided by Eurostat, the official statistical record-keeping agency of the EU, the report notes over half a million male refugees are currently residing in the 27 EU member states, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, many of whom are undocumented.

In Germany, it is estimated that 100,000 unregistered individuals are residing in the country, while in Austria at least 14,000 Ukrainian men arrived using forged documents or the services of smugglers.

Under martial law, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18–60, with some exceptions, are not allowed to leave the country because they could be called up for military service.

The statistics do not provide details on the number of men who departed legally as fathers of three children, individuals with disabilities, or other eligible categories for travel outside of Ukraine. Nor do statistics specify the number of men who may have traveled to Europe from the territories temporarily occupied by Russia.

As Ukraine faces the challenge of maintaining adequate military personnel, recent reports indicate that nearly 20,000 Ukrainian men have managed to evade conscription, finding various routes to leave the country.

Earlier this year law enforcement officials discovered a large-scale draft evasion scheme involving falsified medical certificates. Those involved reportedly charged substantial amounts, ranging from $7,000 to $10,000, to provide fake certificates declaring individuals unfit for military service due to fabricated health conditions.

The UN has estimated that some 6.2 million refugees left the country since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Ukraine had a population of 41 million in 2021. It currently hovers around 35 million and experts warn and could drop to below 29 million in the next 30 years, the EU’s Joint Coordination Center has warned.

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