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Enlistment office claims man died due to epileptic seizure, not beating

by Daria Shulzhenko June 9, 2024 5:18 PM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: A chevron reading Ukraine is seen on a serviceman uniform during a celebration ceremony of the Independence Day at St. Sophia Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24, 2023. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Zhytomyr Oblast military enlistment office reported on June 8 that it had launched an investigation after Serhii Kovalchuk, 32, died following his stay at the Zviahel military enlistment office in late May.

Kovalchuk's relatives have accused the military enlistment office of causing his death by beating him. Dozens of local residents have protested against the enlistment office following the incident.

Prosecutors have opened a murder investigation into the incident.

Military enlistment officials have denied the accusations, claiming that no violence was used against Kovalchuk.

According to the Zhytomyr Oblast enlistment office, the man was brought on May 28 to the Zviahel military enlistment office with "signs of alcohol intoxication."

The enlistment office claimed that enlistment officials decided to send him home but he wanted to stay at the office due to his intoxication.

The report also claims that, hours after arriving at the enlistment office, the man called his relatives and told them about his decision to stay there and that no illegal actions were taken against him.

However, on May 29 he suffered an epileptic seizure, "during which he fell on the tiled floor on his back, hitting his head," the report reads.

Kovalchuk was hospitalized after having a second seizure and died in the hospital on June 2.

Kovalchuk’s father, Mykola Kovakchuk, told the Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne on June 4 that his son "killed."

"My son has been killed, that's it... According to the conclusion, he has a fracture of the skull and cranial bones," he said. "I will seek justice. The community asks for it."

There have been multiple cases of suspected abuses committed by enlistment officials toward civilians and conscripts since Ukraine started a large-scale mobilization after the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022.

In early May, a conscription-age man died on the territory of the Saksahanskyi military enlistment office in the city of Kryvyi Rih due to the "rapid deterioration of his health."

The man showed symptoms of an epileptic seizure at the enlistment office, the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast military recruitment center reported.

Ukraine recently updated the legal framework in order to ramp up mobilization this year amid manpower shortages. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the new law on mobilization on April 16, introducing 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 turn 25.

Defense Ministry: Medical commission members can no longer use own discretion on conscripts’ eligibility
Members of the Military Medical Examination Commission can no longer use their own discretion when determining a person’s eligibility for the military, the Defense Ministry said on May 4.
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