The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said a “leader of a criminal organization” that aided draft dodgers’ escapes from Ukraine by selling them forged documents has been extradited from Bulgaria.

According to the SBU press release, the suspect was in hiding in the EU for the last two years and controlled the operations from abroad. The SBU said it arrested seven of his accomplices in Ukraine at the end of January 2023.

The criminal group, under the suspect’s command, reportedly sold “fictitious medical certificates” to draft dodgers to show they were unfit for service and allowed them to leave the country.

The group also reportedly sold fake documents that allowed their clients to enter occupied territories in the Zaporizhzhia region “under the guise of visiting relatives.”


“For this purpose, the evaders were provided with false documents about the supposed presence of close relatives behind the front line,” read the SBU press release.

Depending on the urgency of departure, the forged documents are estimated to cost anywhere between $2,500 and $8,000.

The SBU said the suspect is under custody, and pre-trial investigations are ongoing. If convicted, he could face up to 12 years in prison and property confiscation.

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