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Ukraine no longer allowing dual citizens to leave

Kiev is struggling to replenish its army ranks due to heavy battlefield losses

Ukrainian nationals with dual citizenship have been barred from leaving the country, a border guard official said on Tuesday. They are also no longer exempt from the military draft under a new mobilization law.

The authorities are struggling to replenish the army ranks as a result of heavy casualties suffered on the battlefield. Russia’s Defense Ministry estimates that Ukraine’s armed forces lost more than 35,000 troops in May alone.

Ukrainians with dual citizenship were previously allowed to leave the country, border service spokesman Andrey Demchenko told state TV on Tuesday. “We are not letting this category of citizens through now,” he added.

He cited a recent government decree that obliged such people to register for the draft within 30 days. Previously, dual citizens and Ukrainians who were living abroad under a residence permit had been exempted from military service.

Earlier, Defense Ministry spokesman Dmitry Lazutkin also demanded the return of Ukrainians who were residing abroad, saying they should visit their territorial draft offices in person even if they have updated their data remotely.

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The US embassy in Kiev immediately warned Americans who hold Ukrainian citizenship against traveling to Ukraine. “Effective June 1, Ukraine has eliminated a ‘residence abroad’ exception that previously allowed certain Ukrainian males aged 18 to 60 to depart the country,” it said in a statement, adding that “US-Ukrainian dual citizens… may no longer be able to depart the country” in light of the changes.

The diplomatic mission then advised those who are already in Ukraine to “shelter in place and obey all local orders,” while cautioning those “not currently in Ukraine” against traveling there. “There is an extremely high risk you will not be allowed to depart, even with a US passport,” the statement said.

Kiev has been ramping up its mobilization efforts in recent months. In April, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky signed a controversial mobilization law that lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25, greatly expanded the powers of enlistment officers, and introduced additional penalties for draft dodgers.

In May, he approved further legislation that provided a way for some prisoners to be paroled if they enlist. Later the same month, the country’s justice minister, Denis Maliuska, announced the first release of convicts to fill the military ranks.

June 05, 2024 at 09:25PM

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