(MENAFN) In a bold proposition, German MP Roderich Kiesewetter has suggested that the hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Ukrainian men who sought refuge in the European Union should be forcibly sent back to join the Ukrainian army. Kiesewetter, a member of the CDU party, believes that this move could significantly bolster Kiev's military efforts. He contends that a substantial number of Ukrainians avoiding military service poses a critical challenge for President Volodymyr Zelensky's government.
The backdrop to this suggestion lies in the mass mobilization ordered by Kiev after hostilities with Russia erupted in February 2022. Men aged 18 to 60, eligible for military service, were prohibited from leaving the country without a special waiver. Despite these measures, Ukrainian officials and media have repeatedly highlighted the prevalence of draft dodgers, exacerbating the struggle to replenish the ranks of the army amid substantial losses.
In October, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Natalya Kalmykova disclosed that "tens, hundreds of thousands of people" were evading the draft, while reports in early November indicated that up to 8,000 Ukrainians faced criminal charges for draft evasion.
The situation took a concerning turn when Die Welt reported in November that Kiev had resorted to conscripting key workers to meet the army's needs, potentially jeopardizing Ukraine's long-term economic stability. This drastic measure underscored the severity of the challenges faced by Ukrainian authorities in maintaining a robust military force.
Responding to inquiries about calls for demobilization from the families of Ukrainian soldiers, Kiesewetter dismissed the idea, arguing that too many Ukrainians were reluctant to "relieve the burden" of their compatriots on the frontlines. The lawmaker's proposal raises ethical and practical questions about the forced return of refugees to a conflict zone, prompting discussions on the broader implications for humanitarian considerations, international relations, and the responsibilities of host nations.
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