Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ukrainians abroad furious over pressure to go home and fight against Russia: Report

The Ukrainian government is angering its citizens living abroad by its attempts to pressure them to return, enlist in the military, and fight Russian army, according to The Washington Post.

The country’s foreign ministry has suspended consular services for emigrants in preparation for a radical mobilization reform that will enter force this month. The new rules require Ukrainians potentially eligible for the military draft to submit their personal data to conscription centers. The documents they get in return will be required for most legal procedures.

The newspaper interviewed several Ukrainians living in Western nations, who expressed negative feelings about the new policy, which they feel treats them like traitors and potential prey for conscription officials. They were identified by their first names only due to fear of being ostracized or facing other repercussions.

“It was done as a ‘go to hell’ move – ‘we will now catch you, to make you feel bad, punish you,’” Aleksandr, who has been living in Austria since before the Russian-Ukrainian hostilities erupted in 2022, said of the suspension of consular services.

“Russia won’t destroy Ukraine on its own, until Ukrainians help it,” Vasily, who is based in Germany, stated, adding, with its actions, Kiev had “simply burned bridges for many whose lives fit in a suitcase – including women and children”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba justified the order by claiming it was necessary to correct an unfair situation, in which some eligible men are avoiding the draft by staying abroad. Those who neglect their obligation to fight for their nation do not deserve to get anything from it, he claimed.

“I feel like the country I love and cherish is behaving like an immature, offended teenager,” Vaily, a Ukrainian living in Poland, told the daily.

“I have always positioned myself, and will continue to position myself, as a Ukrainian in all situations,” he continued, adding, “But if the state considers me a traitor, I must admit it’s not a pleasant feeling for me at the moment.”

Kiev claims it does not seek to forcibly repatriate its nationals, but has requested assistance from its Western backers in encouraging returns.

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