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EU state ready to help Ukraine hunt down military-aged men

Many Poles are “outraged to see young Ukrainian men in cafes,” the country’s defense chief has claimed

Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz has said that Warsaw would be willing to “help” Kiev repatriate men of fighting age, an unspecified portion of some 950,000 Ukrainians granted temporary sanctuary in Poland.

Earlier this week, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry banned all men between the age of 18 and 60 from getting or renewing their documents, including passports, at consular offices outside of the country. The Polish defense chief told the Polsat broadcaster on Wednesday that he was “not surprised” and supports Kiev’s move.

“The Ukrainian authorities are doing everything to provide new soldiers to the front, because the needs are huge,” Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

The Polish official said that Warsaw had previously offered to help Kiev track down those who dodge their “civic duty,” but noted that “the form of assistance depends on the Ukrainian side.”

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Ukrainian men protest Zelensky’s new draft measure in Poland (VIDEO)

“I think that many of our compatriots were and are outraged when they see young Ukrainian men in cafes and hear about how much effort it takes us to help Ukraine,” he added. Kosiniak-Kamysz also echoed Kiev’s official narrative that Ukrainians who could not avoid the draft have “justified grievances against their peers who have scattered around the world.”

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba claimed on Tuesday that the decision to strip Ukrainian men of their rights was “fair” and in line with the controversial military mobilization reforms, which President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law this month.

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File photo: Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky explains why young people ‘make better fighters’

Zelensky’s reforms, set to come into force next month, will lower the draft age from 27 to 25, tighten exemptions and oblige all men, regardless of eligibility, to report to a conscription office to “update” their personal data.

According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc. Kiev has identified that pool as a significant untapped source of manpower for the armed forces. However, asked in early April how many troops Kiev intended to mobilize, Zelensky dodged the question.

April 25, 2024 at 06:07AM

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