Ukraine - Objection Phenomenon
An estimated 140,000 Ukrainian men of military service age have left the country. By end of July, Ukrainian authorities had opened 5,000 criminal cases against military draft evaders and deserters. In addition, there are 8,000 cases of illegal border crossing.
The large number of military draftees is astonishing. It contradicts the picture painted in the media that the military defense of Ukraine enjoys great support in the country itself. It was reported that a many volunteered. Now we have to see that this is probably only part of the picture.
We can only speculate about the motives of the military draft evaders and conscientious objectors. Very few have been willing to talk to us about it. Those who have made it to the European Union can get at least a temporary humanitarian stay here. In addition, the way in which the media has been covering the war in Ukraine leads to Ukrainian objectors being extremely reluctant to appear in public. They see themselves branded as traitors and therefore prefer to refrain from making any statements about it.
The aggravation of the situation is also reflected in the proceedings in Ukraine. There have been several sentences against conscientious objectors. For example, Dmytro Kucherov: He declared his conscientious objection to the military, but instead of recognition he received a three-year prison sentence. In view of this, who should still dare to openly express his opinion?
Currently, all Ukrainian citizens, women and men, children, military conscripts or not, are granted temporary humanitarian residence in the European Union. This was decided by the European Union and is at least largely implemented. The status can be extended for up to three years, i.e., until the end of February 2025, but after that, as things stand now, the status would end.
Returning even then will be a major risk for many military draftees from Ukraine. At present, it is not possible to predict how many criminal cases will have been opened by then. But there is a need - also in view of a war in the own country - for a different way of dealing with that part of the population that does not follow the government policy on war. What is needed for conscientious objectors is a truly comprehensive right to conscientious objection, which can be applied for at any time, as well as an amnesty for the fugitives. As long as a safe return is not guaranteed, Ukrainian conscientious objectors must receive refugee protection in the European Union.
Connection e.V.: Ukraine- Objection Phenomenon, September 20, 2022