Ukrainian men will be returned from abroad to protect the Motherland

A draft law has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which will introduce criminal liability for the non-arrival of Ukrainian men from abroad to protect their country. Defectors could face up to 10 years in prison.

Ukrainian men abroad reacted differently to the invasion of the Russian Federation – some urgently returned to their homeland to protect their homeland, others follow the news online and do not plan to return yet.

On April 8, people’s deputies registered in the Verkhovna Rada bill No. 7265 on the return to Ukraine of men who are abroad during martial law. For ignoring this norm, it is proposed to introduce criminal liability up to 10 years in prison. The authors of the bill were 24 people’s deputies.

It is proposed to supplement the law on martial law with an article that provides for the mandatory return to Ukraine of men of military age who are abroad in the event of martial law being introduced on the territory of the state or in its individual areas. For this, it says, 15 days are given:

“Failure to comply with the requirements to return to Ukraine without good reason after the introduction of martial law in Ukraine or in certain areas of it by a person who, according to the law, is subject to conscription for military service during mobilization, and a person who, in accordance with the law, is obliged to return to Ukraine from – abroad, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of five to ten years.

The following must return without fail: members of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of state authorities and their deputies, deputies of the Council, village, town, city chairmen, judges, law enforcement officials, judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, prosecutors who are outside Ukraine, in the absence of valid reasons. Valid reasons for non-compliance with the law:

  • a ban on leaving the host country;
  • natural disasters;
  • catastrophes;
  • accidents;
  • business trip;
  • hospital stay, or other circumstances that prevent leaving the host country.

If this law is adopted, then not only those who left after February 24, but also those who were abroad earlier will be required to return within 15 days. Including – having a residence permit or work abroad. And these are millions of Ukrainians.

Among the emotions of Ukrainian male migrant workers, indignation prevails over an attempt to return them to their homeland under the threat of criminal prosecution. Many of those who left Ukraine before the war, reports “The country”, intend to ignore such a requirement if the Rada votes for it. Some of them are going, in this case, to stop sending money home (and this is billions of dollars a year) and take their families and relatives to live with them. Some say that the introduction of such a rule will force them to begin the process of renouncing Ukrainian citizenship and obtaining foreign passports. Vladimir Gubitsky from Lvov, who works at a Polish construction site, says:

“No one can do anything to me. I will stay in Poland, I will apply for citizenship. No one will feed my family if I go to war. Those who are trained in military affairs should do this, and I never held a machine gun in my hands, only a spatula. And one more thing – my godfather is now in Lviv, he wanted to go to war, so he was sent back home. They said that there was no need. So why these stupid laws? Does the budget really need money from migrant workers. “

His compatriot Oleg Malko from Ivano-Frankivsk also works in Poland, at a factory. He says:

“Mostly Ukrainian men plow at construction sites, factories, hard work. Women are not hired for such vacancies, this is hellish work. And if Ukrainians leave, this will be a big blow for the Polish labor market. But Poland helps us. I personally am going to I want to stay in Europe, I want to settle here, if necessary, I will renounce Ukrainian citizenship. And ordering to return home is illegal. I think that any European court will prove this.”

Hryhoriy Senishin from Chernivtsi, who works at a construction site in Spain, is indignant:

“First of all, let them call on those who robbed Ukraine – deputies, their children, officials. Relatives tell me how many young lads sit and calmly move around in Ukraine in cities and villages, fattening, drinking beer and something else dissatisfied. who transfer money to Ukraine and fill the budget, they threaten to punish. On the contrary, you also need to say: men, continue to work quietly, provide for families and transfer money, and when the war is over, Ukraine will have to be rebuilt.”

There are many who still remain abroad, but are ready to return. For example, Maxim Zakalyuzhny from Lviv, who works on a farm in the Czech Republic, says:

“I don’t want problems, in the future I still planned to return to Ukraine, this is my land, my home. And if you go against the law, then the road home is closed. And in the eyes of others I don’t want to seem like a coward and a traitor. Therefore, I will return in May and I will go to war if they say.”

Experts warn that an attempt to return and mobilize Ukrainians abroad could have serious consequences – both for the country’s economy and for the demographic situation. Ivan Pehota, specialist in social statistics, demography and migration, says:

“This can lead to the fact that the population will decrease by several million more able-bodied people. After all, many of those who are already abroad will bring their relatives to live with them. And this is in addition to the five million who have already left. As a result, transfers from migrant workers will decrease – about 14 billion a year. That for the economy collapsed because of the war will be an additional powerful blow. Not to mention the fact that demographics will suffer. And that there will simply be no one to rebuild the country. Instead of frightening people, it is better to offer them favorable conditions for returning home so that builders and workers would return after the war to help rebuild Ukraine.”

Among the initiators of the bill are the presidential representative in the Constitutional Court Fyodor Venislavsky, the chairmen of the law enforcement committee Sergei Ionushas and the human rights committee Dmitry Lubinets.

AT explanatory note it is noted that their initiative is aimed at ensuring the full functioning of the defense forces of Ukraine, state authorities and local governments under martial law. The Verkhovna Rada received the bill on April 8, 2022, and on April 11 it was sent to the relevant committee for review.

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