The law of Ukraine, specifies that a serviceman who is injured while performing combat missions, must receive state compensation. To prove their entitlement they must provide, among other documents, “addition number 5”, a certificate that describes the circumstances under which the soldier was injured. However, it is not uncommon for military personnel to fail to obtain the necessary documents, and therefore they are not able to receive their payments. These circumstances were revealed by the Censor.Net publication on July 4 after its editorial office had been contacted by concerned mothers of injured Ukrainian servicemen. 

 The story of Oleksandr, Natalia's son, began even before the full-scale invasion, following wounds he received during the war with Russia in eastern Ukraine. He waited several years before the surgery he needed was performed, about three months before the full-scale invasion. 

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By the spring of 2022, Oleksandr was taking part in military operations in the Donetsk region. He was again wounded, in both hands, and managed to get himself out of Bakhmut to seek medical assistance. After undergoing treatment in Dnipro, and later in the west of Ukraine, the soldier managed to save his hands, after which, Oleksandr was sent back to the front. 

His mother, Natalia, stressed that her son went to the hospital on his own and on his own account. He had to live in a hotel for seven days to attend for the necessary procedures, because he was not admitted to the hospital. This cost Oleksandr all of his salary. 

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Since then, he has not received any payment in respect of his injuries, in spite of the fact that investigations into the circumstances of his injury began in January and his brigade commander was dismissed. He has not received any information about when he will receive the necessary certificate confirming the circumstances of him being wounded in combat.  

It turns out that to get “addition number 5,” the military needs to go through an internal investigation, during which they require formal notification about where, when, and under what circumstances the fighter was injured. In addition, getting examined by doctors, military personnel have to wait not one day, but sometimes a week in queues.

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On May 26, President Zelensky signed bills 9154 and 9158. 

The first of these is designed to improve the work of the Military Medical Commission (MMC), and to expand the list of healthcare institutions that can act as an MMC with state funding. 

The second is designed to simplify the process of processing the certificates themselves, but so far, there has not been much improvement in the process for obtaining the documents.  

In June, more than 480 medical institutions applied to the National Health Service of Ukraine for the opportunity to act as an MMC, which would lead to a reduction in queues and speed up the passage of commissions. 

But “there is another dimension to the problem”, suspected corruption. Nataly, a former medic informed Censor.Net, that she had been dismissed after helping 12 military personnel to get their “addition number 5” certificates. She told the publication that to get the document from her unit it was necessary to pay a bribe. 

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She also claimed that it was necessary to pay, not only for this certificate, but also to get a referral for rehabilitation, the prices for which started at five thousand hryvnias.

When Natalia complained to her commander, she was transferred to another unit, which, according to her, is much worse than the previous one. Because of this, she is afraid to spread information about the corruption, arguing that ordinary military personnel are forbidden to do this without the permission of the commander. 

Olha Stepanenko, an employee of the foundation founded by the former ombudsman Ludmyla Denysova, said that they have recorded many cases when the families of fallen soldiers had to approach three different places to receive a death certificate for a serviceman killed on a combat mission. 

According to Censor.Net, military personnel, even those who have suffered serious injuries, such as loss of limbs or spinal injuries, must report to permanent deployment points (PDP) to get their documents, but the information identifying these points is not readily available.

For example, one soldier who was evacuated from near Bukhmut to Dnipro and then transferred to Ternopil was told to go to the PDP for a certificate, which may have been near Bakhmut or in Kharkiv, 1,000 kms away. 

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Military personnel themselves also report that while they wait to get a certificate from the commanders of the units where they served, the state pays them 800 hryvnias a month.  

"I can't even go anywhere to work. Not because I'm moving around on crutches right now. We fall under a separate category, which, according to the law, can neither hold a position in the army nor be demobilized, so I can't work officially, because I am still mobilized. So, I live on 800 hryvnias," an anonymous military serviceman told Censor.net.

After hospital treatment, the soldier must independently collect all the documentation he needs from an allocated MMC which may well be in another city. If he seeks the services of a lawyer to help the serviceman needs to pay out of his own pocket.

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Comments (2)

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Philip Tummarello
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It is not an entitlement. They EARNED it.

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Cedar
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I understand that Ukraine is in the difficult position of being asked to make multiple changes to the way society functions, despite also having to cope with the Russian threat to its existence. Corruption is one of the toxic legacies of Soviet rule, & needs to end. But supporting soldiers who have risked their lives defending the country, is not a luxury that can wait for peaceful times. If Ukrainian unity and resilience is to be preserved, justice must be done. Individuals must see that if they offer sacrifices for the state, the state will take care of them. And if Western aid is to continue, justice must be seen to be done. There are too many in the West who argue that corruption is a good reason for letting Ukraine fight alone. Don’t give them ammunition.

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