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Justice Minister: Nearly 350 prisoners have been released to join army after new conscription law

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 25, 2024 11:51 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Justice Minister Denys Maliuska addresses journalists at the end of a meeting of the G7 Justice Ministers on Nov. 29, 2022, in Berlin. (John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images)
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Nearly 350 prisoners have been released from detention to serve in the military after a new conscription law took effect, Justice Minister Denys Maliuska told the New York Times in an interview on May 24.

Ukraine's parliament passed a bill on May 8 permitting those convicted of certain offenses to serve in the military, paving the way for the voluntary mobilization of prisoners. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the bill into law on May 17.

Maliuska said earlier in May that Ukraine could fill its ranks with as many as 20,000 convicts in a move that would also help ease overcrowding in Ukrainian prisons.

The judiciary has received 4,300 applications so far and is already considering most of them, Maliuska told the New York Times.

Maliuska also told the New York Times that people convicted of a single case of murder could potentially be released, if there were no aggravating circumstances.

The new law allowing prisoners to serve in the military in exchange for the possibility of parole is a response to Ukraine's manpower shortage. With the war being fought as intensely as ever, Ukraine's military faces a growing need to replenish fighting units, build reserves, and allow existing soldiers to rotate off the front line.

The government has aimed to ramp up mobilization efforts in 2024 and has pledged to change the approach to military recruitment, giving more choices to potential conscripts.

Court in Khmelnytskyi Oblast releases 50 prisoners to join army after new conscription law
A court in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi Oblast released another 50 prisoners on the condition that they join the military under the new conscription law, the court’s press service reported on May 24.
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