The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, discussed potential scenarios for conscripting Ukrainians living abroad into the Armed Forces (AFU) in interviews with German publications Welt and Bild.

He revealed that discussions are underway regarding the conscription of men living abroad, aged 25 to 60, into the military service next year. These individuals, residing in countries such as Germany, may receive invitations to report to AFU conscription points.

While the defense minister mentioned only invitations, Umerov made it clear, as noted by the German publication, that sanctions could be imposed if the request is not fulfilled.

“We want justice for everyone because it concerns our own country,” Umerov said. “We will send them an invitation... We are still discussing what will happen if they don’t come voluntarily.”

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Umerov said that new recruits will have options based on their abilities, and those mobilized should be informed in advance about their training, equipment, service details, and demobilization.

He expressed a lack of sympathy for those who refuse military service, stating, “This is not a punishment for defending your country and serving the country. It is an honor.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Dec. 21 Ukraine's DefMin dismissed Umerov's statement, saying that "he was misunderstood."

In a comment to Babel, Illarion Pavlyuk, the Head of the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Defense, explained that Bild has "shifted the focus."

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According to him, there are "no discussions on the mechanisms of conscripting men living abroad into the AFU."

German publications reported that, since Feb. 24, 2022, 221,571 Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 had arrived in Germany, with 189,484 currently residing in the country.

Rumors about the American citizenship of all three Umerov children have begun circulating on social networks.

Ukrainian Telegram channels and some media claimed that Umerov’s current declaration data suggested his children had acquired US citizenship.

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The Ministry of Defense responded to the rumors on its Facebook page, stating, “The minister’s children (son – 10 years old, daughters – 8 and 2 years old) are exclusively citizens of Ukraine. Umerov’s family members do not have citizenship in other countries.”

The ministry clarified that Ukrainian passports were issued to them at the Embassy of Ukraine in the US after the expiration of the previous ones. “That is why, in the declaration referred to by the media, the place of issuance of the documents was indicated as the United States,” the Ministry of Defense explained.

Highlighting the circumstances, the ministry said that in 2016, Umerov’s family was forced to leave the country due to death threats and murder attempts resulting from his “systematic activities regarding the de-occupation of the temporarily occupied Crimea.”

Since 2014, as a delegate of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar people, Umerov, together with the Leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev, and representatives of the Mejlis, has spoken at international platforms about violations of people’s rights in occupied Crimea. Umerov has been actively involved in the process of releasing political prisoners of Crimea, the statement reads.

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