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US State Department: No position on Ukraine's suspension of consular services

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 26, 2024 10:10 AM 2 min read
A Spanish policeman stands next to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid on Dec. 2, 2022. (Oscar Del Pozo/AFP via Getty Images)
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The U.S. currently has no position on Ukraine's decision to suspend consular services for military-age men abroad or the larger attempt to bring such men back to the country, said Dan Cisek, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, in comments to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) on April 25.

Ukraine's government recently introduced a ban on sending identification documents and passports to Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 living abroad. The new provision came into effect shortly after Ukraine announced the temporary suspension of new applications for consular support for military-age men abroad as part of a new mobilization law.

Cisek said it is a "difficult question" but that the "government of Ukraine has the right to define its policy" on this issue.

"There is no decision or position so far from the U.S. government—to help or not to help Ukraine in this area."

Cisek acknowledged that "It is clear that people are needed for the Armed Forces (of Ukraine) to defend the country," but it was and continues to be an important part of the West's support for Ukraine to welcome those who have left.

"At the same time, it is correct that the government of Ukraine needs to intensively and seriously study the situation," Cisek said.

Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said on April 24 that Poland would help Ukraine bring its military-aged men back.

"I think many Poles are outraged when they see young Ukrainian men in hotels and cafes, and they hear how much effort we have to make to help Ukraine," Kosiniak-Kamysz said. "However, the form of assistance (Poland provides) depends on the Ukrainian side."

With some exceptions, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving Ukraine during the war while martial law is in effect. At the same time, the BBC estimated in November 2023 that some 650,000 military-age Ukrainian men had left the country for the EU since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Ukraine passed its hotly debated bill on mobilization this month following months of deliberation and rewrites. The bill was a key component of political and military leadership's efforts to ramp up mobilization in 2024 amidst an increasingly critical manpower shortage.

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