Ukraine Is Denying Consular Services to Men Outside the Country

Ukrainian officials have taken several steps in recent weeks to swell the ranks of an army depleted by more than two years of grueling combat. The government passed a new mobilization bill aimed at increasing troop numbers and has stepped up border patrols to catch draft dodgers.

Now, officials are targeting men who have already left the country. This week the government announced that Ukrainian embassies had suspended issuing new passports and providing other consular services for military-age men living abroad.

Men between the ages of 18 and 60 were prohibited from leaving the country after the start of Russia’s invasion in 2022, but some were abroad before the rule took effect and others have left illegally since then.

By suspending consular services, the government said, it was responding to demands for fairness in society.

The new rules will remain in place until a new mobilization law takes effect on May 18. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that it was still working out the details about what services would be provided after the broader mobilization law went into effect, but its message was clear: If you are healthy and can fight, come home and join the military.

“How it looks like now: A man of conscription age went abroad, showing his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a statement. “It does not work this way. Our country is at war.”

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