Ukrainian Defense Minister Urges Overseas Men to Report for Military Service

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Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has called upon all Ukrainian men eligible for conscription, residing outside the country, to report to Ukrainian Armed Forces recruitment centers. This directive, outlined in an interview with Bild, specifically targets men who left Ukraine following the conflict with Russia and aims to enlist them in the military efforts.

THis call to action has been deemed “politically explosive” by Bild, cautioning about potential ramifications for the sizable population of Ukrainian men residing abroad. President Vladimir Zelensky previously mentioned plans to mobilize an additional 450,000 to 500,000 individuals for military service earlier in the week.

Umerov stressed the obligation for all Ukrainian men within the military age bracket of 25 to 60 years to respond to recruitment center summonses. Failure to comply with these invitations, he warned, will result in sanctions, although the specific penalties are yet to be finalized.

Expressing little tolerance for draft evasion, Umerov emphasized that defending and serving one’s country is not a punitive duty but an honorable responsibility. Ukraine had initially restricted the exit of males of military age when Russia initiated its campaign in February 2022, but many managed to leave and seek refuge primarily in EU nations.

The numbers from Bild indicate that a significant count of 221,571 Ukrainian men arrived in Germany following the conflict outbreak, with 189,484 still residing there.

In the wake of Umerov’s interview, reports surfaced on Strana.ua suggesting that the defense minister’s three children acquired US passports. While his son and daughter were listed as Ukrainian citizens in Umerov’s 2020 tax statement, they were identified as American citizens in 2022. Additionally, the minister’s second daughter reportadly received a US passport soon after birth, as per Strana.ua’s findings.

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