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Ukraine's circuses, TV channels recognized as 'critically important' companies, allowing employees to defer military service

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 8, 2024 11:00 PM 2 min read
Artists showcase aerial hoop performance at the Zaporizhzhia State Circus, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Feb. 11, 2024. (Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Culture Ministry has recognized a number of TV channels, circuses, and other cultural institutions as "critically important" companies during wartime, allowing some of their employees to defer military service, according to decrees published on the ministry's website.

The controversial decisions come amid the Ukrainian government's efforts to update the legal framework around mobilization in order to ramp up its number of available troops in 2024.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has recently approved laws to lower the minimum age of compulsory military service from 27 to 25, allowing younger men to be mobilized, create the online register for conscripts, and cancel the "partially eligible" status in the military medical examinations.

Since the beginning of 2024, the Culture Ministry has issued decrees designating dozens of media companies and TV channels, including those participating in Ukraine's TV marathon, "as critically important for the functioning of the economy and ensuring the livelihood of the population in a special period."

This status has also been given to the Directorate of Mobile Circus Teams, the State Circus Company, as well as several circuses, theaters, operas and other cultural institutions across Ukraine.

Current rules in Ukraine allow the deferment of military service to 50% or more of the employees of "critically important" companies.

As of February, 143 Ukrainian enterprises, institutions and organizations in the field of culture and information policy were recognized as "critically important," according to Ukrainian media outlet Interfax-Ukraine.

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