Get out!

Information for dissatisfied soldiers from Ukraine

If you are not prepared to take part in the fighting...

Here we give you some tips on what you can do if you want to refuse to enlist in the army.

In the Ukraine

On 21 August 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence announced that the right to conscientious objection no longer applies due to martial law and the associated indefinite military service. This contradicts international human rights standards, but in fact means that conscientious objectors are charged and prosecuted. There have also been repeated sentences of several years imprisonment. Some criminal proceedings are now pending before the Ukrainian Constitutional Court.


With the imposition of martial law on 24 February 2022, men between the ages of 18 and 60 were banned from leaving the country. There are some exceptions to this. Leaving the country is possible if the person liable for military service

- has been discharged from service,

- has three or more minor children,

- is the single parent of a minor child,

- have to care for a close relative,

- have established permanent residence abroad

Drivers for international freight transports, medical and humanitarian aid transports can also cross the border after submitting an application. The regulations can be found on the website of the Ukrainian government.

Studying in Germany

A further deferral is now only granted if the studies were started abroad before the start of the war or shortly afterwards. New study visas are not authorised.

Residence status in the European Union

Ukrainian nationals with a biometric passport can enter the EU without a visa for short-term stays in accordance with EU law. Ukrainian nationals with a non-biometric passport generally require a visa to enter the EU.

If you are already in European Union countries, you can obtain a humanitarian residence permit. It is also possible for you to obtain a work permit. The European Council, i.e. the government of the European Union countries, decided on 4 March 2022 that Ukrainian citizens can obtain a temporary residence permit. This applies to all Ukrainian nationals who were resident in Ukraine before 24 February 2022. To take advantage of this, you must register in the country concerned, preferably at the place of your future residence.

Humanitarian residence is only valid for a limited period until 4 March 2025 and basic care is currently being provided by the states of the European Union with the support of many initiatives.

It is currently not necessary to apply for asylum, but this can be done at a later date. We recommend that you contact counselling centres for refugees in the respective country as soon as possible to find out about further options for admission.

If you have already been in the military

If you have already been in the military and are coming to the European Union on leave, for treatment of a wound or for military training, the residence regulations for all Ukrainian citizens also apply to you in the European Union in principle, i.e. you can also receive a temporary humanitarian visa. However, it is not yet clear whether this stay will be extended beyond 4 March 2025.

Is extradition possible?

In September 2023, the Ukrainian government spoke of applying for the extradition of fugitive conscripts. However, there is no legal basis for this because Article 4 of the European Convention on Extradition excludes extradition if the extradition is for military offences.

As far as we know, Poland responded with what we consider to be a legally untenable agreement with Ukraine and expelled some Ukrainian refugees. This practice has now probably been discontinued.

Is it possible to be called up abroad

An amendment to the law is currently being discussed in Ukraine that would enable conscription with digital delivery. This means that call-ups can also be delivered abroad (i.e. outside Ukraine), provided that the Ukrainian authorities have the data of the persons concerned. In addition, corresponding requests from the military to report to military authorities or call-ups for military service can then also be handed over by consulates or embassies.

Can you apply for asylum?

In principle, it is possible to apply for asylum. However, asylum is usually only granted if there is political, racial or religious persecution by the state. This should only rarely be relevant in Ukraine.

The threat of persecution in the event of desertion is generally not recognised as grounds for asylum.

If you are a convinced conscientious objector and you were denied conscientious objector status in Ukraine - or if you demonstrably had no opportunity to apply as a conscientious objector - you could be granted protection against deportation (no asylum) by applying for asylum. The reason for this is that Ukraine is violating the European Convention on Human Rights by suspending the right to conscientious objection. In such a case, you should contact a counselling centre before applying for asylum.

Please note that there is an agreement between the countries in Western Europe that the asylum application will be processed in the country where you are first officially registered. If you nevertheless travel on to other Western European countries, you will be taken back to the first country of reception to process your asylum application.

If you apply for asylum, you will have an interview with an official from the responsible refugee reception centre after a few days. During this interview, you will first be asked again about your travel route. You will then have the opportunity to state your reasons for applying for asylum.

The reception of refugees varies from country to country. However, you must assume that as an asylum applicant you will be accommodated in a reception centre together with many other refugees and that you will also be obliged to live there for the duration of the asylum procedure. The opportunities to work are severely restricted. The asylum procedure itself can take several months, sometimes even years.

If you apply for asylum, you can no longer travel back to Ukraine, e.g. for a visit. On the one hand, you could be subject to the threat of persecution there, and on the other hand, if you stay in your country of origin, i.e. Ukraine, your asylum application may be rejected as unjustified.

We recommend that you get in touch with counselling centres for refugees in the respective country before submitting your application, if possible. These advice centres can also put you in touch with lawyers.

Further information on the asylum procedure can be found in a guide from the Lower Saxony Refugee Council.

What happens in the event of desertion?

If you desert, you will be held criminally liable in your country of origin, but not in the European Union. The prison sentences in Ukraine are up to 12 years. If you are currently in the European Union as a deserter, you are subject to the same regulations as all other Ukrainian citizens. On presentation of a passport, you should therefore be granted limited temporary humanitarian residence.

This is a first brief information. We provide up-to-date information and further links at the central web address

Who we are: We are an association of organisations and individuals from Western Europe who want to support anyone who does not want to take part in the war.

For more information on the situation of conscientious objectors in Ukraine, you can contact the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement:, +380 973 179 326

For further questions about the situation in the European Union you can contact us at office(at)

An information for recruits and soldiers from Ukraine, updated January 29, 2024

Keywords:    ⇒ Ukraine