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8 Jan, 2024 20:48

Ukraine threatens to freeze draft dodgers’ bank accounts

The measure will be discussed as part of a new mobilization law
Ukraine threatens to freeze draft dodgers’ bank accounts

Kiev is prepared to consider the possibility of slapping banking restrictions on Ukrainians who evade military service, said the head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Andrey Pyshny.

The Ukrainian parliament is currently working on preparing amendments to the mobilization law. President Vladimir Zelensky has told lawmakers that the military has requested up to 500,000 more troops to make up for losses on the battlefield. 

A government request submitted last month would lower the age of conscription from 27 to 25 and eliminate exemptions for disabilities, among other things. Proposals have been floated to draft women as well.

“We have taken note of this bill, and I think that when it is worked out in parliament, we should have discussions and an exchange of views,” Pyshny told the Ukrainian outlet Zerkalo Nedeli. “If the need arises, and it is likely to arise, we will take part in the discussion. I think it will lead us to the optimal solution.”

If legislators include the provision allowing for the seizure of draft dodgers’ bank accounts, the National Bank will comply with the law, Pyshny said.

Ukrainians living abroad who have not registered for military service may also be denied consular and banking services under the proposed law, according to Batkivshchyna party MP Vadim Ivchenko, who sits on the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence. 

Kiev has already demanded that EU countries hosting Ukrainian refugees send back the men capable of military service, although most have refused to do so.

Ukraine has struggled to replace the battlefield losses in the conflict with Russia. While the Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Kiev’s losses at over 383,000 killed, wounded and missing, former prosecutor-general Yury Lutsenko put that number as high as 500,000 in an interview last week.

General Valery Zaluzhny, commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told lawmakers last week that everyone mobilized will get 80 days of training but unless he gets more troops somehow, “there will be no one to defend the state.”