Skip to content
Barbed wire is seen on top of the wall of Moscow's Lefortovo prison on Apr. 4, 2023. The prison is known for being the place where political prisoners await their trial. Serhii Karmazin, a Ukrainian civilian arrested on sabotage charges, and Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter arrested on espionage charges, are among the detainees of Lefortovo. (Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Since Ukraine's new conscription law took effect, over 2,750 prisoners have been released from detention to join the Ukrainian military, the Washington Post reported on June 16.

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

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.

As of May 25, the judiciary received 4,300 applications, and is already considering most of them, Ukraine's Justice Minister Denys Maliuska told the New York Times.

"The motivation of our inmates is stronger than our ordinary soldiers," Maliuska said in an interview with the Washington Post released on June 16. "Their release is only one part of the motive. They want to protect their country and they want to turn the page."

Convicts released under a new law will serve in separate units of the Ukrainian military. Those released will reportedly be supervised by the military units they enlist in and cannot leave their units without their commanders' permission.

The minister added that the Ukrainian command could mix former prisoners with other military units in the future, considering their performance on the battlefield.

"There is a competition between military commanders to hire (convicts)," Maliuska told the Post. "There is a lack of manpower, so they really want to get access.”

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.

Prisoners are currently undergoing military training that will last "at least a couple of months," Maliuska said on national television on May 27.

Inside Ukraine’s prison recruitment efforts to bolster front-line troops
ZHYTOMYR, KYIV OBLASTS — Taras Netavrovanyi, an inmate at the medium-security prison in Zhytomyr Oblast, eagerly seized the chance to break free of his two-and-a-half-year sentence. New Ukrainian legislation allowing military service for prisoners convicted of certain felonies, including manslaught…


News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.