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14-year-old Ukrainian violently abducted in mobilization campaign – media

A teenager in Odessa Region was reportedly briefly tied up and driven away by four armed men before they realized he was a minor

A group of Ukrainian soldiers detained at gunpoint and assaulted a 14-year-old orphan amid Kiev’s push to mobilize more people for the front, local media reported on Saturday.

According to the website Bessarabia Info, citing Oksana Terzi, who heads the local department of social protection, the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon in the village of Priozernoye in Odessa Region. 

The official claimed that a white minivan with four men in military uniform and balaclavas – one of whom was the driver – pulled over near the teenager as he was walking to meet his girlfriend. They then dragged the boy into the van while pressing the muzzle of an assault rifle to his temple. Terzi explained that the gunmen might not have suspected the boy was a minor because he was broad-shouldered.

The boy started to resist, the official continued. “The kid plays sports, so the self-defense instinct kicked in. He began to struggle, and the attackers restrained him, hitting him in the back with an assault rifle. They beat him and tied his hands with a plastic tie.”

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Terzi stated that the soldiers drove in complete silence for a while, and only much later asked the boy’s age. “When he said how old he was, they didn’t believe him and asked for his passport. When they realized that they were transporting a minor, they threw him out of the van,” she said adding that the men warned the boy to keep quiet about the incident.

The boy was dropped off in another village, some 13km from Priozernoye, after which he had to walk for two hours to return home. In a state of shock, he later told his teachers at school about what had happened, and they then contacted the authorities. 

After the story went viral, police opened a case of possible kidnapping, according to hromadske.ua.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022. But the campaign has been marred by widespread draft-dodging and also heavy-handed methods of serving draft notices, such as raids on shopping malls, restaurants and gyms, and also stopping people on the streets. 

In an attempt to make up for battlefield losses, Zelensky also signed a law earlier this month lowering the minimum draft age for men from 27 to 25.

April 07, 2024 at 06:24PM

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