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Poland Begins Extraditing Ukrainian Men Who Fled Mobilisation

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Poland has taken the lead in extraditing individuals who left Ukraine to evade mobilization due to bribery. Other EU member states may find themselves in a similar predicament. Ukrainian authorities, acting upon President Volodymyr Zelensky’s directive, are now in the process of verifying the authenticity of military service exemption documents issued after February 24, 2022. Tens of thousands of conscription-age men are alleged to have obtained these fake documents by parting with substantial bribes, ranging from $3,000 to $15,000.

In a recent statement, Davyd Arachamija, a lawmaker from Ukraine’s ruling Servants of the People party, announced that Ukrainian law enforcement authorities will actively demand the extradition of their citizens of conscription age who had illicitly departed Ukraine to avoid mobilization.

“On the orders of President Volodymyr Zelensky, the authorities will now meticulously scrutinize the veracity of all decisions regarding the inability to perform military service, often referred to as ‘blue books,’ that were issued by military medical commissions after February 24, 2022,” as reported by Rzeczpospolita.

According to sources in Kiev, it is believed that tens of thousands of men of conscription age were able to obtain counterfeit “blue books” in exchange for considerable bribes, typically ranging between $3,000 and $15,000 (equivalent to 66,750-335,000 Czech crowns).

Data from the headquarters of the Polish Border Guard reveals that between February 24, 2022, and August 31, 2022, approximately 2.87 million Ukrainians aged 18 to 60 crossed the border into Poland, with just under 2.8 million leaving Polish territory afterward.

“Nearly 80,000 Ukrainian men of conscription age who arrived after February 24, 2022, have seemingly vanished. These Ukrainians potentially fall within the scope of mobilization in their homeland. The exact number of those who genuinely qualify for conscription remains uncertain,” the newspaper remarked.

Kiev is seriously contemplating legal action against those who evaded mobilization and sought refuge abroad by means of bribery.

“This matter holds immense significance for Ukraine since these men could have bolstered the ranks of our armed forces, thereby enhancing our defense and security,” stated Fedir Velinislavskyi of the parliamentary committee on national security, defense, and intelligence.

In order to repatriate these individuals, Ukraine must issue international arrest warrants for each of them. If any of these individuals are encountered, for instance, during a routine road check, the national information system of the police will automatically flag them as persons sought by the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office. Subsequently, the decision on extradition will rest with the Polish courts, as explained by Mariusz Ciarka, spokesman for the Police of the Republic of Poland, in an interview with Rzeczpospolita.



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