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Interior Minister: Ukraine in talks with EU on return of draft-age men who illegally crossed the border

Dozens of Ukrainian men attempt to illegally leave the country daily, with about 15% using forged documents at checkpoints, according to Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.
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Ukrainian soldiers on the move at the frontline. Credit: Ukraine’s General Staff
Interior Minister: Ukraine in talks with EU on return of draft-age men who illegally crossed the border

Ukraine negotiates with European Union countries regarding the potential return of Ukrainian men of conscription age who illegally crossed the border, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said in an interview with Radio Liberty.

“We are conducting consultations with our colleagues from the European Union. These negotiations will continue – about the possible return of our citizens if they illegally crossed the border,” he said.

Klymenko clarified that each EU country acts according to the laws and rules of the European Commission.

The minister explained that while EU representatives are not currently inclined to return Ukrainian men en masse, discussions are ongoing. He also disclosed that dozens of men attempt to leave the country illegally every day to avoid mobilization.

“This is quite a large percentage – about 15% of our citizens. Those who want to swim across the river Tysa, cross mountains, and those who try to pass through checkpoints with forged documents,” Klymenko reported.

Under martial law, men aged 18 to 60 are restricted from leaving Ukraine. On 18 May, a new mobilization law came into force, strengthening mobilization measures. The Cabinet of Ministers recently approved a package of resolutions establishing procedures for mobilization and military registration.

According to a Cabinet decree, men of conscription age who left the country and resided abroad must register for military service by 17 June. Those who did not update their data may face restrictions on consular services.

From 1 September, the government allowed men of conscription age to leave Ukraine for work trips lasting up to 7 days, with a guarantee deposit of 200,000 hryvnias required.

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