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10:29 21 Jun 2024

Ukraine in talks with EU to repatriate men who fled illegally – internal affairs minister

Photo: UNIAN

Ukraine is in talks with representatives from EU countries about potentially repatriating male Ukrainian citizens of military age who crossed the border illegally.

Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko said this in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

"We are conducting consultations with our colleagues from the European Union, and these negotiations will continue in the future. Of course, each EU country acts according to the laws and regulations of the European Commission. Therefore, these negotiations will continue – about the possible return of our citizens if they crossed the border illegally," the minister said.

Klymenko says that so far the representatives of the EU countries are not determined to return Ukrainian men en masse, but negotiations continue.

He also said that every day at the border, dozens of men try to leave the country illegally to avoid mobilization.

"We are talking, of course, about dozens of people every day. Sometimes, there are 10; sometimes, there are 20; sometimes, there are 30. We are not only talking about those who want to swim across the Tysa River and cross the mountains but also those who try to pass off false passports at the border. This percentage is quite significant – approximately 15% of our citizens," Klymenko said.

For reference:

During martial law, there is a restriction on the departure of men aged 18 to 60 from the territory of Ukraine.

Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets has said that Estonia is ready to help Ukraine mobilize its citizens if necessary. More than 7,000 mobilization-aged men from Ukraine have applied for temporary protection in Estonia. The figure includes, in particular, Ukrainian citizens permanently residing abroad. However, it also includes those who came to Estonia after the outbreak of full-scale war and now live here with a temporary residence permit.

On April 11, the Ukrainian parliament passed the "Law on Amendments to Selected Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Military Service, Mobilization, and Military Registration" in its second reading. It has already been signed by the President and published. On April 23, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, announced the suspension of consular services for Ukrainian men who are of conscription age and currently living abroad. He stated that being outside the country does not relieve citizens from their duties to their country, including updating their information with their local military authorities. As a result, he has instructed certain services to be withheld from these individuals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later indicated that after the mobilization law enters into force on May 18, 2024, "the process of accepting and considering applications for consular actions will continue taking into account the new requirements arising from the provisions of the law."

In turn, the European Union declared that they "took into account" the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to suspend the provision of services to men of mobilization age in diplomatic institutions.

As previously reportedPoland's Defense Minister, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, stated that his country is prepared to aid Ukraine in repatriating conscription-age men.

At the same time, according to Maximilian Kall, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, the refugee status in Germany will remain unchanged despite Ukraine's decision to halt consular services for citizens of conscription age outside the country.

 

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