Ukraine begins jailing draft dodgers: MP
Men are being snatched off the street and from inside their homes for forced recruitment and mobilization in the face of Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government has begun handing down multi-year prison sentences to accused draft evaders, amid a wave of viral videos showing aging Ukrainian men desperately trying to avoid forced conscription.
According to newly released documents, Ukrainians who fail to report to Ukraine's conscription authorities face multiple years in prison, even if they are injured.
A Ukrainian member of parliament, Alexander Dubinsky, noted on Monday that "in Ukraine, the courts began to issue decisions on evasion of mobilization," referring to a verdict handed down just two weeks ago.
In the case cited by Dubinsky, a Ukrainian man who failed to show up on time at a recruiting station in the Sumy region was sentenced to three years in prison for "deliberate evasion of conscription for military service during mobilization."
Despite the fact that legal documents show the accused repeatedly stating that he was unable to serve due to periarthritis of the knee - a painful condition that often makes walking difficult and can take up to three years to heal - his protests appear to have gone unheard.
Thousands have been charged with attempting to evade conscription, and while many of the accusations have since been dismissed, hundreds of cases are now reportedly making their way through Ukraine's notoriously shady legal system.
In recent months, footage of physical altercations between Ukrainians and government soldiers attempting to press them into military service has gone viral on social media.
🪖🇺🇦Mobilisation in Ukraine— AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZgeopolitics) January 25, 2023
Now he goes to the front to fight for "freedom and democracy" by force... pic.twitter.com/OapKqaK151
In one particularly heartbreaking video, two masked Ukrainian militants shove a small child who tries to intervene, while physically restraining a middle-aged man who appears to be his father.