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Poland stands firm against Ukrainian draft dodgers, calls for EU action

Poland stands firm against Ukrainian draft dodgers, calls for EU action
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Apr 30, 2024 9:25 PM

Poland’s deputy foreign minister states that the country will not provide Ukrainian draft evaders sanctuary on Polish territory, a move that comes amid rising hostilities in Ukraine

Poland’s deputy foreign minister took a hard stand on Tuesday, saying that the country would not provide Ukrainian draft evaders sanctuary on Polish territory. The announcement coincides with rising hostilities as Ukraine steps up efforts to strengthen its armed capabilities after more than two years of hostilities with Russia.

Mobilization legislation was recently passed in Ukraine to increase the number of soldiers by reducing the combat age and toughening up draft dodging. But the decision caused controversy, especially among Ukrainian expats living in Poland, where, by UN estimates, tens of thousands of males of military age seek asylum.

Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna of Poland said, “We definitely won’t protect draft dodgers,” in an interview with the official television station TVP. Notwithstanding this claim, Szejna pointed out that Poland has not yet received any official requests from Ukraine concerning the repatriation of those who were of military age.

Meanwhile, the defense ministers of Poland and Lithuania, two of Ukraine’s closest friends, stated last week that they would be prepared to help return military-age men to their devastated country. Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said, “Everything is possible,” in an interview with Polsat television.

In addition, Kosiniak-Kamysz emphasized the need for “European solutions” to resolve the issue and referred to the ongoing talks between Brussels and Kyiv. He emphasized the need for concerted action at the European level and expressed assurance that taking such steps would guarantee optimal efficacy.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022, which resulted in a large-scale outflow of Ukrainians seeking asylum and Poland acting as a crucial transit route, the problem of Ukrainian draft dodgers has garnered attention. As of February of this year, Poland has registered 952,104 Ukrainian refugees, including almost 150,000 people who were old enough to be in the military, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:54 PM