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Parliamentary committee sees corruption risks in new mobilization bill

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 8, 2024 6:37 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian military instructor instructs soldiers during a tactical and live-fire exercise on Nov. 30, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. (Roman Chop/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Following a meeting on Jan. 8, the Ukrainian parliament's Anti-Corruption Policy Committee noted possible corruption risks in the government's mobilization bill, the committee's head, Anastasiia Radina, told Ukrainska Pravda.

The parliamentary body nevertheless recognized the need for mobilization in Ukraine, the lawmaker added.

As the military seeks to replenish its ranks amid the full-scale war with Russia, the government submitted a draft law on mobilization and military service to the parliament on Dec. 25, outlining plans for further conscription and tightening restrictions on draft evaders.

Representatives of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, who were present at the meeting, agreed to remove the shortcomings, Radina said.

The lawmaker did not specify what were the exact flaws of the bill but promised to provide the information at a later date.

The committee is not alone in raising concerns. In its appeal to the parliament's National Security and Defense Committee, the European Business Association (EBA) said that the bill "may contain signs of violations of Ukraine's Constitution."

The proposed measures may prompt a rise in off-the-books salary and employment schemes, deterioration in business conditions, and the outflow of foreign investments, the EBA noted.

They may also deprive citizens of their basic rights, such as to obtain documents verifying their identity and citizenship, according to the association's assessment.

The new measures contained in the proposed bill include banning those who evade military registration and service from traveling abroad, restricting their rights to drive a vehicle or obtain a driver's license, and suspending their benefits and services from the state.

David Arakhamia, the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People faction in parliament, said that the military command had submitted a request to mobilize 500,000 military personnel.

Zelensky also gave this number during his press conference on Dec. 19, noting that the plan has yet to address several key issues before he can support it.

Commander-in-Chief  Valerii Zaluzhnyi later refuted the figure but said that the military had a plan for the number of mobilized conscripts for 2024.

The discussions are ongoing as Yevheniia Kravchuk, a lawmaker and a deputy head of the parliament's Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, said the parliament will not adopt the bill without amendments.

Zaluzhnyi, Umerov start talks with parliamentary committee on new mobilization law
Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov arrived at Ukraine’s parliament for talks on the new law on mobilization, David Arakhamia, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People faction, reported on Telegram on Jan. 4.
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