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German region wants to scrap benefits for Ukrainian draft dodgers

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann has also criticized hefty government handouts as a counter-incentive for refugees to seek jobs

Ukrainian men fleeing the draft should be banned from receiving financial handouts in Germany, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann has argued. He claimed that by providing benefits, Berlin is sending the wrong message to other potential Ukrainian draft dodgers.

According to the EU’s Eurostat agency, an estimated 860,000 men of draft age are among the 4.3 million Ukrainians currently living in the bloc. Kiev has increasingly exerted pressure on them in recent weeks, including by suspending consular services abroad for all men aged between 18 and 60 who have not registered at a military recruitment office.

Speaking to Welt TV on Thursday, Herrmann said: “The least [we can do is] that we don’t pay such ‘citizen’s benefits,’ especially not to men who are actually eligible for the military service in their Ukrainian homeland.”

According to the official, thousands of draft-eligible Ukrainians in Germany “are cashing citizen’s benefits here while they are needed for Ukraine’s defense.” The Bavarian minister stressed that “there can’t be…, so to speak, bonuses for those who desert.”

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FILE PHOTO: Young recruits undergo military training in the form of an obstacle course at the recruiting center in Kiev.
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Noting that Ukrainian refugees in Germany are entitled to a higher level of government assistance than those from other countries, Herrmann claimed that the “handsome” monetary handouts mean that Ukrainians “don’t feel a whole lot of inducement in the first place to look for work.”

The regional minister also lamented that there is no sharing mechanism with respect to Ukrainian refugees within the EU, meaning they head to Germany in disproportionately large numbers compared to other member states.

Last month, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte urged the EU to assist Ukraine in returning military-age men residing in the bloc. She suggested that Vilnius could do so by finding “ways to make sure that a person has performed their mobilization duty or is exempted from it” when applying for residence permit extensions.
Simonyte also called on the EU to reach a uniform decision on the temporary protection status enjoyed by Ukrainian refugees.

Around the same time, Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz made it clear that Warsaw was willing to “help” Kiev catch and repatriate draft dodgers.

Earlier in April, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky signed into law a new mobilization bill that lowers the conscription age from 27 to 25, greatly expands the powers of enlistment officers, and introduces various restrictions for draft dodgers.

May 24, 2024 at 03:08PM

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