The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine has taken action to address widespread corruption in the country’s draft exemption process, according to President Vladimir Zelensky. In a meeting, he announced that all draft exemption decisions that are deemed groundless and illegal will be reviewed by law enforcement. The move comes after the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) uncovered a conspiracy involving military-medical commissions in 11 regions of the country that were forging health exemptions for a fee. These fraudulent papers were being used by draft-dodgers to leave the country. As a result, the heads of all enlistment offices were sacked in August.
To further combat corruption and prevent manipulation, the NSDC also plans to fully digitize the Armed Forces database and revise the criteria for determining the fitness of individuals for military service. This will provide field commanders with more opportunities to assign appropriate roles to soldiers and ensure a fair and effective conscription process.
Additionally, Ukraine is rolling out a newly approved plan for further mobilization to continue the fight against Russia. NSDC head Aleksey Danilov stated that the country will call up as many men as it may need to strengthen its military capabilities. The government in Kiev has ordered several waves of conscription since the hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022. Recruitment centers have issued blanket notifications to all men of military age, streamlining the process.
Reports have indicated that fraudulent exemptions could cost up to $10,000, with nearly 20,000 people caught trying to dodge the draft, based on official government figures. Social media has played a significant role in assisting draft-dodgers, with groups of up to 100,000 members offering tips and tricks to avoid conscription. However, the government is cracking down on these illegal activities to ensure a fair and just enlistment process.
In light of the ongoing conflict with Russia, Ukraine has faced a high death toll, resulting in rapidly filling cemeteries across the country. Mobile operator Kievstar recently faced backlash after mentioning “400,000 heroes” who had “gone to eternity” in a charity drive post, which was swiftly deleted.
The actions taken by the NSDC and President Zelensky aim to address corruption in the draft exemption process and ensure that individuals are chosen for military service based on fair and transparent criteria. By reviewing illegal exemptions and implementing digital systems, Ukraine hopes to prevent manipulation and strengthen its military forces.