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More than 23,000 Ukrainians have illegally entered Moldova since beginning of full-scale invasion, RFE/RL reports

by Nate Ostiller July 10, 2024 6:42 PM 2 min read
A line of Ukrainian vehicles waiting to cross the Moldova-Ukraine border checkpoint near the Moldovan town of Palanca on March 14, 2022. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)
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Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, more than 23,000 Ukrainians have illegally crossed into Moldova, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Moldovan service reported on July 10.

Under martial law, which has been in place since February 2022, Ukrainian men aged 18-60 with some exceptions are not allowed to leave the country because they could be called up for military service.

BBC Ukraine estimated in November 2023 that as many as 650,000 Ukrainian military-aged men had left the country since the beginning of the full-scale war.

According to data seen by RFE/RL, 7,700 Ukrainian men crossed into Moldova in the first six months of 2024.

Moldova and Ukraine share a border of about 1,222 kilometers (760 miles).

Many of those illegally crossing into Moldova intend to keep traveling into an EU country, although the Moldovan government offers differing levels of protection for foreigners who enter the country.

Moldovan Frontier Police chief Ruslan Galusca told RFE/RL that Ukrainian men who are detained after crossing "are not sanctioned for illegal entry."

A Ukrainian man who identified himself as Vasyl told RFE/RL that he had paid $10,000 for a smuggler to take him into Moldova via the Dniester River, adding that he intended to travel to Poland after.

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

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