On Jan. 30, the Cabinet of Ministers published a revised bill on mobilization. After the first version of the draft law on mobilization had attracted criticism from the parliament and public in mid-January, the Ministry of Defense took a break for several weeks to revise the document.

The new draft law includes fresh proposals, taking into account previous comments and new norms, and is believed to have a better chance of being supported in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.

Currently, the document is being considered by lawmakers and has not yet caused a public outcry. However, the parliament has already noted that not all the contentious issues have been corrected in the new version.

Who is subject to mobilization?

The Ministry of Defense believes that it is necessary to lower the age of mobilization from 27 to 25. Moreover, they propose introducing basic military training for citizens aged 18 to 24. It will be mandatory for men and voluntary for women.

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It will be possible to choose at what age they undergo training, which will last five months during peacetime and three months during periods of active war.

The authors of the document also believe that it is necessary to introduce basic military training in higher educational institutions so that citizens can acquire the military accounting specialty, skills and abilities necessary for the defense of the country. It will also be mandatory for men and voluntary for women.

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The government also approved new rules of interaction between conscripts and local Territorial Recruitment Centers (TRC). Government officials believe that conscripts must update their data within 60 days from the date of the start of mobilization through such centers, centers for the provision of administrative services or the conscript’s electronic office.

The draft law clarifies that heads of enterprises, organizations and educational institutions must “facilitate” the appearance of Ukrainian citizens at the TRCs.

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However, there are also valid reasons for which one may be exempt from immediately appearing at the center: a natural disaster, the conscript’s illness, the aggressor country’s actions, and the death of a close relative.

The conscript is obliged to notify the TRC of non-appearance within three days of the date specified in the summons.

If the citizen received the conscription notice by email, the date of its delivery shall be considered the day of notification. If the notice is sent later than 5:00 p.m., it will be considered served on the following business day.

If the conscript does not come to the TRC within the prescribed 10 days, he may be prohibited from traveling abroad and driving; his assets in bank accounts or other financial institutions may be seized.

Women with a medical or pharmaceutical specialty eligible for military service are subject to military registration.

The Ministry of Defense also determined the list of those who have the right to postponement of mobilization. People with disabilities of all groups are among them. In the first edition of the draft law, the ministry proposed mobilizing people with group three disabilities (such as missing fingers or blindness in one eye) which caused opposition on the part of the parliament and the General Staff.

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However, if group two or three disability was established after Feb. 24, 2022, the conscript will have to undergo a repeat medical examination. This will apply to men aged 25 to 55.

Military registration abroad

Men aged 18 to 60 living abroad will not be exempt from military registration. The Cabinet of Ministers proposes that consular assistance in foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine during martial law should be provided to such persons only if they have up-to-date military registration documents.

Moreover, passports and identity cards will be issued abroad to citizens of Ukraine eligible for conscription only if up-to-date military registration documents are presented.

Exceptions will be made only for the registration of an identity card in order to return to Ukraine, for child support if one of the parents is a foreigner, or registration of arrest and assistance to persons under arrest.

Convicts will be able to mobilize

Mobilizing convicts is controversial issue, with the General Staff previously opposed to it.

The new version of the bill proposes allowing convicts with a suspended sentence to voluntarily go to military service. This would not apply to those convicted of crimes against the national security of Ukraine.

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Earlier, Deputy Minister of Justice Olena Vysotska had urged parliament to “hurry up” in this matter.

According to her, since the beginning of the war, there had been “thousands of appeals” from convicts to join the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but the current legislation prohibits them from mobilizing.

Demobilization

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who have been fighting since Feb. 24, 2022, are expecting the state to amend the legislation concerning their demobilization. In the first edition of the document, the Cabinet of Ministers offered such an opportunity after 36 months of continuous service.

Now demobilization is offered after 37 months – within a month from the date of submitting a report by the military.

There are other grounds to resign from service:

  • due to age or health condition;
  • in connection with the entry into legal force of a guilty verdict, imposing punishment in the form of imprisonment;
  • due to family circumstances;
  • in connection with release from captivity;
  • because of election as a member of parliament, or appointment to the post of judge.

When will the consideration of the draft law begin?

The document has been sent to the parliament. It is now being analyzed. As such, lawmakers are in no hurry to comment on the document.

Yehor Chernev, a parliamentarian from the ruling Servant of the People faction, said that he did not see all the comments taken into account in the new document. “We made our suggestions for amendments to the bill,” he said. “The Ministry of Defense heard something, and probably missed some things. However, we can already work on the document and finalize it for a second reading.”

If the parliament is ready for a quick discussion, the law can be adopted in March.

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