Ukraine war The men who don’t want to fight
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There is a shortage of soldiers in Ukraine.

It is not enough to have volunteers. It is necessary for the country to replace the tens of thousands of people who have been killed or injured on a continuous basis. After 18 months of fighting off Russia’s full-scale invasion, many more are exhausted.

However, some men do not want to fight. There are thousands of migrants who have left the country, sometimes after bribing officials, while others are avoiding recruitment officers, who have been accused of increasingly harsh tactics.

Yehor says the system is outdated. After fighting in Afghanistan with the Soviet Army, his father suffered from mental health issues.


That’s why he doesn’t want to fight. To protect his identity, he asked that we not use his real name.

Prior to Russia’s invasion, men who did not want to serve in the military were offered alternative jobs such as farming or social work.


Since martial law began last year, that choice has disappeared, but Yehor believes it should still be available.

Yehor argues that each situation is unique. According to me, the constitution’s requirement that all male citizens fight is out of date with today’s values.”

After being stopped by police in Kyiv for avoiding the draft, he was sent to a recruitment center. In the end, he was allowed to go home after pleading that he had back problems, but next time he fears he won’t be allowed to go home.

People with poor health, single parents, and those caring for the vulnerable are exempt from service. However, those convicted of draft-dodging may face fines or even imprisonment for up to three years.

Yehor says that everyone should be allowed to contribute to this war if their circumstances are taken into account. I feel sorry for those on the front lines, but I have no alternative to pacifism.”

Kyiv has been accused of being corrupt in the way it conscripts men.


After widespread allegations of bribery and intimidation against officers in the Ukrainian recruitment system, President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked every regional head of recruitment.

A military draft chief in Odesa was even accused recently of buying millions of dollars’ worth of cars and property on Spain’s southern coast. According to reports, the officer denies knowing anything about it. reports that defence officials have called the alleged offenses “shameful and unacceptable”.

Most men under 60 cannot leave Ukraine because of mobilization. There are thousands of people who try to sneak out of the country, mostly through Romania’s Carpathian mountains.

The mass group chats help those who stay avoid being drafted. Telegram threads reveal where drafting officers are patrolling. Across the country, there are chats for various regions and cities, some with more than 100,000 members.

Due to the color of their uniforms, these officers are known as Olives. The people they encounter are typically given notices ordering them to register at a recruitment center, but some have been taken away without being given a chance to return home.


The Ukrainian Defense Ministry encourages people to keep their details up-to-date on a national database, and says they will be assigned to a suitable posting if called up.

However, officers are alleged to have used harsh or intimidating tactics. In addition, conscripts have been reported to be on the front line after only a month of training.