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Ukrainian man ‘commits robbery to avoid draft’

The suspect now faces up to ten years behind bars after allegedly snatching a handbag from a woman in the street

A Ukrainian man has claimed he robbed a woman in the port city of Odessa so that he would avoid being drafted into the military, local police said on Monday.

The 18-year-old suspect snatched a handbag from a woman in the street in broad daylight, fleeing the scene on foot before taking public transport to get home, police in Odessa said in a statement. The victim alerted the authorities and the suspect was apprehended soon afterwards. 

The man reportedly confessed to the crime, telling police he had deliberately committed the robbery so that he would receive a criminal conviction and would avoid mobilization into the military. The suspect claimed he had discarded the handbag while fleeing the scene. The item and its contents have not been recovered, the police noted. 

According to the victim, the handbag contained her documents, a smartphone, headphones, and cash, estimated to be worth around $300. The suspect is now facing robbery charges aggravated by “considerable damage.” Under Ukrainian law, the offense is punishable by up to ten years behind bars. 

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Technically, the 18-year-old suspect does not fall under Kiev’s mobilization drive, which currently only targets individuals aged 25 and older. Over the past few months, however, multiple Ukrainian officials and public figures have repeatedly said mobilization efforts should be expanded to all adults, as “everyone” in the country must be involved in the fight against Russia. 

Kiev has maintained a mobilization drive since the early days of the conflict with Russia, which broke out in late February 2022. The draft effort has apparently grown increasingly draconian. Numerous videos circulating online have shown Ukrainian enlistment officers raiding public transport, chasing potential recruits in the streets, and subjecting them to various kinds of abuse.

The draft effort became even more severe with a controversial law enacted in April. The legislation lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25 and greatly expanded the powers of enlistment officers, also introducing additional penalties for draft dodgers.

June 17, 2024 at 08:56PM

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