Vilnius considers Poland's strategy for returning military-age Ukrainians

Laurynas Kasčiūnas
Laurynas Kasčiūnas

Vilnius will consider how it can help Kyiv to return military-age male back to Ukraine, the Lithuanian news outlet Delfi reported on Aril 25, citing the country’s Defense Minister Laurynas Kasčiūnas.

“The direction is right... It is probably difficult to say what measures it will turn into. Perhaps we will have to talk about this specifically,” Laurynas said, adding that no concrete measures have been considered yet.

Vilnius will be watching Poland's approach to the issue closely and may follow suit.

“Of course, no one will gather them and take them to Ukraine - this will not happen,” Kasčiūnas said, but restricting their access to social benefits, work permits, and documents could be considered.

“These are the options that I hear from the Polish side. So let's wait and see what approach they will propose, maybe it will be suitable for Lithuania as well.”

However, he admitted that it is difficult to determine the exact number of Ukrainians of military age currently residing in Lithuania.

Earlier in the day, Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said that Warsaw was ready to facilitate the return of military-age male Ukrainians currently living in Poland to fulfil their civic obligations at home.

According to the Eurostat database estimates, about 4.3 million Ukrainians are currently living in EU countries, including about 860,000 adult men. Of these, Poland has granted temporary protection status to 950,000 Ukrainians, the second highest number after Germany.

On April 24, German Interior Ministry spokesperson Maximilian Kall said that Kyiv's decision to limit consular services for Ukrainian men would not affect their refugee status in Germany.

Temporary suspension of consular services for Ukrainian men

On April 22, the newspaper ZN.UA reported that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had ordered all diplomatic missions to temporarily suspend services for men of military age, except for processing documents for their return to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba confirmed this information on April 23. Later, the ministry issued a statement on the provision of consular services to men of military age, calling it a temporary step.

“After the new mobilization law comes into force on May 18, the process of accepting and considering applications for consular action will continue, taking into account new requirements arising from the provisions of the law,” the ministry wrote.

Furthermore, on April 24, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Ukraine’s parliament announced plans to summon Foreign Ministry officials to discuss the legal foundation for these service restrictions.

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