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Poland says can help return military-aged men to Ukraine

By AFP

April 25, 2024 05:56 PM


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Poland could help return Ukrainians of military age back to Ukraine, the defence minister said, as Kyiv ramps up efforts to replenish its depleted and exhausted military.

Poland has tens of thousands of Ukrainian men of military age on its territory, according to UN figures.

Ukraine is scrambling to recruit troops after more than two years of war and has recently passed a mobilisation law, lowering the fighting age and toughening penalties against draft dodgers.

Late Wednesday it said it would stop issuing new passports abroad to some military-aged men, according to legislation published on the government website.

It has also suspended consular services for men aged 18 to 60 living abroad, sparking fury among expatriates in Poland and elsewhere.

Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said late Wednesday that Warsaw could help in getting military-aged men back to Ukraine.

"We have suggested for a long time that we can help the Ukrainian side ensure that people subject to compulsive military service go to Ukraine," he told Polsat television.

"Everything is possible," he said when asked if Warsaw would agree if Ukraine asked for people subject to the draft to be transported to Ukraine.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled the war, with most passing through Poland.

As of February 2024, 952,104 Ukrainian refugees were registered in Poland, 16 percent of them, or 152,656 people, men of military age, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Many Ukrainians were in Poland prior to the outbreak of the war.


AFP


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