The Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, said on Dec. 26 that it had uncovered a scheme in which two businessmen in the northern Chernihiv Oblast allegedly helped men of draft age to illegally cross the Ukrainian border into the European Union.
According to the SBU, the suspects allegedly charged men from $5,000 for registering them as volunteers through the state database. The volunteer status made men of draft age exempt from the ban to leave the country under marital law.
During searches of the suspects' homes and workplaces, law enforcement officers discovered cash, fake stamps, and two Kalashnikov rifles.
Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 deemed fit for military service are banned from leaving the country except under certain exceptions.
According to the State Border Guard Service, over 8,000 men have tried to leave the country as of mid-September illegally.