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Romanian police: 11,000 Ukrainian men have illegally crossed border into Romania since February 2022

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 10, 2024 11:16 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian refugees cross the Tysa River on a bridge connecting Ukraine (L) and Romania at the Sighetu Marmatiei border crossing in northwestern Romania on April 10, 2022. (Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)
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About 11,000 Ukrainian men have illegally crossed the border into Romania since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on May 9, citing data from the Romanian border police.

A total of 19 men aged between 18 and 60 died while trying to cross into the neighboring country, said Florin Coman, the chief of the Romanian border police in the city of Sighetu Marmatiei.

Eleven of them reportedly drowned in the Tysa River, and the rest died while trying to cross the Carpathian Mountains without proper equipment.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, there have been multiple reports of men attempting to illegally flee Ukraine by swimming the Tysa River, which flows along the border with Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.

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Men of draft age are banned from leaving the country during martial law, with several exemptions.

There have been 1,218 cases of illegal border crossings from Ukraine to Romania recorded between January and April 2024, with 2,373 Ukrainian citizens involved, according to Coman.

Over the past two years, Romanian rescuers have saved 108 Ukrainians in the Maramures region alone, he said.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have uncovered, as of mid-March, nearly 400 criminal networks that help individuals evade military service by aiding them to flee abroad, according to State Border Guard Service spokesperson Andrii Demchenko.

Ukraine recently updated the legal framework of the military draft to ramp up mobilization in 2024. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the new law on mobilization on April 16, introducing additional penalties for those dodging the draft.

Another law lowered the minimum age of compulsory military service from 27 to 25, making men eligible for the draft as soon as they turned 25.

Foreign Ministry clarifies rules for men abroad applying for consular services
The new ban on military-age Ukrainian men applying for consular services abroad is a temporary suspension and will not apply to those who have updated their military records, the Foreign Ministry said on April 30 as part of a clarification on recent changes.
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