Interior Minister: Police open 9,000 criminal cases related to draft evasion

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Ukraine's National Police have opened 9,000 criminal proceedings regarding mobilization evasion, of which 2,600 have started court proceedings, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on air on Jan. 4.

Ukraine is seeking to mobilize more new soldiers and dissuade its citizens from avoiding military service as the second anniversary of the launch of Russia's full-scale invasion approaches in February.

The government submitted a draft law on mobilization and military service to parliament on Dec. 25, which proposes, among other things, to restrict the rights of those who evade military registration and service.

Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov started talks on the new law with the parliamentary committee on security and defense on Jan. 4.

Criminal proceedings are initiated if an employee of a local enlistment office suspects a person of evading mobilization and reports this to the police, according to Klymenko.

If someone is suspected of evading the draft, their local enlistment office reports this to the police, who can open criminal proceedings.

The police then begin an investigation under Article 336 of Ukraine's Criminal Code, Klymenko said.

This stipulates that the evasion of conscription for military service during mobilization is a crime that carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

"If there is a war, then every citizen must fulfill his duty either in the rear or at the front," and that society Klymenko said,

A BBC report in November indicated that in the first 18 months since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion, nearly 20,000 Ukrainian men violated martial law and left the country, evading mobilization.

Ukraine carried out a nationwide inspection of recruitment offices in August 2023, which revealed multiple violations, including corruption, abuse of power, and fraud, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to fire the heads of all regional military enlistment offices.

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