In Digest, Ukraine

Sputnik News, May 5, 2015

In Kiev alone, 95% of working-age men are evading military service, using a variety of methods from bribery to fleeing to other countries.

Military recruits in Ukraine (Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

Military recruits in Ukraine (Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

Evasion of conscription in Ukraine has skyrocketed, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reports. (Article in German here. Google translation below.)

Companies are struggling to find a false excuse for their employees in order to help them avoid military service. The illegal business is thriving, with doctors trading medical certificates and travel agencies organizing “special trips” for those seeking to leave the country.

Residents of Western Ukraine usually flee to Europe, while men from eastern provinces go to Russia, the article said.

The newspaper recalled the recent arrest of a medical worker from Chernivtsi who issued faked medical certificates with his signature for 3,500 euros. In western Ukraine, more than half of the youth population has left the country over last few months.

Overall, 70% of the working population in the western regions of Ukraine went to neighboring Poland and Romania, and many others fled to Italy, Germany and Austria. All of them have Schengen visas and are working in Europe as seasonal workers, pursuing two main goals: to feed their families and evade military service.

The situation in the eastern regions is similar, with many residents going to neighboring Russia for work and staying there to avoid military service, Handelsblatt reported.

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Doing everything to stay out of the army

Handelsblatt, May 4, 2015 (Google translation)
Kyiv–Dmitri can breathe. The young man comes from the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk and industry has settled on Kiev to Turin in Italy – “saved,” he says. “I hope I can study at a university in Italy during the year,” he said in an interview via Skype. What’s he doing at present, it remains unclear. A relative had invited him to Italy.

Dmitri is 22 years old and spent several months hiding in Kiev, because he had received a draft notice in autumn 2014. “I will not go in the army,” he said at the time. Originally, he wanted to enroll in Kiev in one of the many universities in order to escape the army, “but then I was given the opportunity to go to Europe,” he says. 60,000 soldiers will train in the next five months in Ukraine. But in Kiev alone, up to 95 percent of the able-bodied men are evading military conscription.

It is an open secret that those who are able buy their freedom from military service. A few weeks ago, a doctor was arrested media attention in the West Ukrainian Chernivtsi, the cashed up to 3500 Euro per signature for issuing medical certificates to Dienstuntauglichkeit in the armed forces.

But such examples do not shy away from most men. Especially in the Western Ukraine, in the Transcarpathian region, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv, more than 60 percent of the able-bodied men have left the country in recent months. Markiyan already left shortly after New Year’s on the bus and drove to his place of work in the EU. The man’s name is actually different, his family lives in the region of Lviv. Markiyan has spent years working as seasonal workers in the EU, at an asparagus farm and later in the summer as a harvest worker.

The money he earned there in five or six months, he sends to his family. Up to 70 percent of the working population in the Western Ukraine are employed in neighboring Poland or Romania. Many people turn to Italy, Germany or Austria for a job.

Markiyans wife gave a Ukrainian TV channel interview, her face and voice were made unrecognizable. “If he sends no money from Europe, we cannot survive,” says the woman. Her, the three children as well as his and her parents use the income Markiyan earns from seasonal work to make ends meet. “Just imagine if he would have to go the front, come back maimed even dead.”

In western Ukraine, many people live with a Schengen visa, which allows entry into the EU. In many border towns, there is also the local border traffic, which each gives residents in border regions special rights.”

Not only in Lviv have seasonal workers left the country on buses. The phenomenon also appears in other parts of the country. In eastern Ukraine are men beyond the mobilization. In the northeastern region of Sumy, eg, organized bus tours were observed. Buses leave from the villages and bring the men across the border to Russia. There, many Ukrainians are traditionally employed in construction.
Between Russia and Ukraine, there are no visa requirements. The government in Moscow has expanded the permitted duration of work permits for Ukrainian workers. 180 days at a time are allowed Ukrainians working in the neighbor country.

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