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Ukraine’s neighbor refuses to hand over draft dodgers

There’s currently no mechanism for returning these people to Ukraine, Moldova’s foreign ministry says

Moldova has not handed any draft dodgers over to Ukraine and has no plans to do so in the future, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Zakharov told Radio Moldova on Wednesday. There’s no legal mechanism to do so, Zakharov explained, since “there is not and has not been an agreement on the extradition of people of military age” between the two nations.

“To date, not a single citizen who has reached military age or who will reach it in the near future has been and will not be extradited to Ukraine,” he said, adding that Kiev has not even made such requests as of yet.

More than 850,000 Ukrainians fled to Moldova amid the ongoing hostilities between Kiev and Moscow. A vast majority of them moved further into other EU member states, with only an estimated 80,000 remaining in the country.

The Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly floated the idea of somehow getting individuals of military age back from abroad. Back in August, a senior lawmaker from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling party, David Arakhamia, said Kiev could try to seek the extradition of draft dodgers from the EU.

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8,000 Ukrainians face criminal charges for evading draft – media

“Our law enforcement officials can file extradition requests against such people in pretty much any country in the world except for Russia. What will happen to the people who did so? They will face prosecution … over bribery, document forgery, and mobilization dodging,” the lawmaker said at the time.

Multiple EU states, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, have refused to even consider surrendering Ukrainians back to Kiev, arguing the people they had accommodated were being treated as refugees and should not be punished for draft evasion.

Thus far, Ukrainian authorities have launched more than 8,200 criminal cases over draft dodging since the beginning of the conflict in February last year, local media reported earlier this month. The scale of the draft evasion problem, however, is widely believed to be far bigger, with Kiev officials repeatedly voicing their concerns on the matter. In mid-October, for instance, Deputy Defense Minister Natalya Kalmykova alleged that “tens, hundreds of thousands of people” have been evading military conscription.

November 23, 2023 at 03:45AM

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