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Foreign Ministry clarifies rules for men abroad applying for consular services

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 30, 2024 11:44 PM 3 min read
Ukrainian citizens who arrived to Krakow after fleeing from Ukraine queue to handle formalities for at the Consulate General of Ukraine in Krakow, Poland on March 14, 2022. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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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.

With some exceptions, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving Ukraine during the war while martial law is in effect.

The Foreign Ministry announced on April 23 that Ukraine was temporarily suspending new applications for consular support for military-age men abroad due to the new law on mobilization.

The new law, a critical component of Ukraine's efforts to update the legal framework around conscription in order to ramp up mobilization in 2024, had been signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky a week earlier.

The legislation framework of Ukraine's consular services' activity was updated to align with the requirements of the new law, the Foreign Ministry said on April 23.

Ukrainian embassies and consulates can no longer accept new applications for consular services for Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60, "with the exception of applications for registration of identity cards for a return to Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry said.

The government then announced a ban on April 24 on sending identification documents and passports of Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 abroad.

The Foreign Ministry said on April 30 that the ban on receiving consular services is a temporary suspension, as "the arrangements for updating and verifying military records for men of conscription age" who are outside of Ukraine are " currently being determined."

State Border Service: Over 30 draft evaders died trying to illegally cross border
More than 30 men have died while attempting to cross Ukraine’s mountainous western border to evade mobilization, State Border Guard Service Head Andriy Demchenko said in an interview with Ukrinform published on April 29.

Men who have updated their information "in accordance with the requirements of the law will have the opportunity to apply for consular services," once the new arrangements are implemented, the ministry said.

"The decision is temporary and concerns only the acceptance of new applications," and therefore does not violate human rights, the ministry said.  

The Foreign Ministry also reiterated that the suspension does not apply to Ukrainians who find themselves in emergencies abroad, such as road accidents or natural disasters.

There will be "no restrictions or forced return of Ukrainian citizens of any gender or age" back to Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said in an interview with Deutsche Welle published on April 30.

Stefanishyna said that military registration for men living abroad would be conducted, but the process is more about collecting data on the potential manpower available than a plan for the immediate mobilization of such individuals.

Lithuania’s PM, president in favor of helping Ukraine bring back military-aged men
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte supported the idea that Vilnius should help Ukraine bring back its military-aged men living abroad, but after consultations with the EU and Kyiv, LRT reported on April 29.
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