Kyiv is not taking steps to force Ukrainian men of conscription age living abroad to return, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna in an interview with DW.

Stefanishyna’s comments follow the cancelation of consular services abroad for Ukrainian men between the ages of 18-16, who haven’t registered with the military commission (TCC).

“There will be no restrictions or forced return of Ukrainian citizens of any gender or age to the country at war [Ukraine]. But there are no easy solutions to war issues, and let's not forget that the war is ongoing, and we have to win it,” Stefanishyna said.

Stefanishyna also said that registering does not mean automatic mobilization to the front line.

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“Ukraine adopted the law on mobilization, and we have to understand in which volumes we can replace boys at the front line. It's about potential mobilization – accounting and information. And that is our primary goal,” she said.

Ukrainian men of mobilization age who are abroad haven’t received consular services since April 23.

The move to restrict services to them brooked angry protests outside of a passport service center in Warsaw, Poland the next day.

Kyiv Post sources in Spain confirmed the suspension of consular services for mobilization-age men. Information about the same situation in many other countries has been widely circulated in Ukrainian media.

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A new law on mobilization was signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 16 and officially takes force on May 18.

The law establishes that all men aged 18-60 years are required to update their status either at military enlistment offices or through online accounts.

The law abolishes conscription and instead introduces basic military training – five months during peacetime, and three months during war – to avoid cases of underprepared men being sent to the front as cannon fodder.

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It provides new mechanisms for military recruitment where Ukrainians who sign up to join the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will have the opportunity to choose the unit they will serve in, which is meant to enable soldiers with special skills, such as IT or languages, to be put to better use.

It also provides a range of sanctions against “evaders,” preventing Ukrainians living abroad who haven’t registered for military service from receiving consular services.

It requires Ukrainian men to carry a military registration document with them and show it at the demand of a representative of the TCC or a police officer. There are also fines for those found to be in violation of the law.

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