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Bribes and hiding at home: The Ukrainian men trying to avoid conscription

By Shaun Walker and Jamie Wilson

15 Aug 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian men are believed to have left the country illegally since Russia's invasion, in order to avoid being drafted into the military. Many have paid bribes to secure false medical reports exempting them from service.

At the last military checkpoint before he exited Ukraine in April, a 39-year-old man from Odesa handed over papers showing he had a serious spinal injury, thus exempting him from military service and from the ban on adult men leaving the country.

“One of the soldiers said, ‘That hospital really likes this diagnosis, huh?’” recalled the man. “I could see they knew exactly what was going on, and it wasn’t the first time. But they were powerless to do anything, so waved me through,” he said.

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