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“No discussion about new convocation mechanism”

According to its own statement, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry currently has no plans to draft Ukrainians living abroad into the army. The ministry described corresponding media reports as errors of interpretation.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has denied reports of Minister Rustam Umyerov’s alleged plans to recruit Ukrainian citizens living abroad for military service.

In view of the personnel difficulties of the Ukrainian armed forces, the high losses in the defensive war against Russia and the exhaustion of the fighters, Umjerov gave an interview to “Bild”, Welt TV and “Politico”. The Defense Ministry has now made it clear that Umyerov’s statements in the interview had been misinterpreted. The head of the press and information department of the Ministry of Defense, Illarion Pavlyuk, said that the focus of the statement had been shifted.

Pavlyuk emphasized that the minister said that it is important to make clear to Ukrainians abroad the importance of joining the army and that there are currently no discussions about the mechanisms of conscription into the army.

Military: Need up to 500,000 more soldiers

The “Bild” had reported that Umyerov had announced that he would ask Ukrainians of military age between 25 and 60 who lived in Germany and other countries to report to the armed forces’ recruiting centers. Umjerow spoke of an invitation, but also threatened sanctions if someone did not comply with the request.

The Ukrainian military wants to mobilize 450,000 to 500,000 more soldiers to repel the Russian invasion. However, the financial and political framework conditions have not yet been clarified. President Volodymyr Zelensky called the mobilization a “very sensitive issue.”

“A moral appeal”

A clarification of Umyerov’s statement was very important to the Ukrainian side today, says ARD correspondent Judith Schacht. “He appealed to all Ukrainians abroad that it was important for them to come back. So it was a moral appeal that emphasized the importance of helping here.”

The correspondent also confirmed that there is currently no discussion about concrete mechanisms for convening Ukrainians living abroad. The Ukrainian government has made this clear. How exactly we want to mobilize more soldiers – and whether there should actually be 500,000 in the end – is still being worked on.

Ukrainians capable of military service abroad are economically interesting

In conversation with tagesschau24 Andreas Umland, political scientist at the Stockholm Center for Eastern European Studies, explained that Ukraine, as one of the larger countries in Europe, actually has the potential to mobilize such a high number of additional soldiers. “The question now arises as to which men they are,” says Umland. This also included men of military age who are currently outside Ukraine.

These men are particularly interesting because they would not be removed from the current Ukrainian economy by going to war. However, if recruited domestically, important workers would be lost. The Ukrainian government is also trying to recruit men living abroad for possible deployment. Umland also spoke of an “invitation” from the Ukrainian Defense Minister in this regard.

Escape and bribes

Thousands of Ukrainian men are trying to avoid military service by fleeing abroad. Controls at the borders are strict, with officials searching cars and tearing up panels on trains. Men are repeatedly picked up at the green border. There are also many known cases in which conscripts at muster offices use bribes to buy their way out of service.

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