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Over 3,000 Ukrainian convicts apply to serve in army

Tuesday, 21 May 2024, 13:26
Over 3,000 Ukrainian convicts apply to serve in army
Ukrainian flag over barbed wire. Stock photo

Over 3,000 Ukrainian convicts have applied for conditional early release to participate in the defence of Ukraine.

Source: Ukrinform citing Olena Vysotska, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, on air during the national 24/7 news broadcast

Quote: "It's more than 3,000 people. We predicted this before the adoption of the law. We cannot claim that all 20,000 people mentioned as potential candidates will join. Because during previous surveys, about 4,500 were willing to do this. Now, this number will vary..."


Details: Vysotska said the Ministry of Justice understood "that there would be willing participants, but the law will restrict certain categories, so we cannot say all those who want it will get a conditional early release and sign a contract".

She noted that military medical commissions will check convicts for socially dangerous diseases such as HIV infection, tuberculosis or hepatitis.

These diseases are grounds for exclusion from the mobilisation project.


Vysotska emphasised that the decisive factors in the law are the convicts’ desire and motivation to sign contracts with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and thus receive conditional early release.

Meanwhile, she pointed out that the law includes precautions in case someone considers signing a contract with the Armed Forces an opportunity to gain freedom without intending to fight.

Quote: "Therefore, when we talk about figures, about the number of those who would like to join, these are only preliminary. We'll see everything in practice… We have started working on having those who expressed a desire to submit the relevant applications. Military medical commissions are now ongoing and they are meeting with commanders. After that, the military units’ commanders consent to a specific person, and we pass the materials to the court...

Understanding that the law has certain precautions for such cases is vital. Evading a contract carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years of imprisonment. So, all those who want to speculate on this topic may face additional responsibility and may have up to 10 years of imprisonment added to their previous sentences.


  • On 13 March, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) registered a legislative initiative to amend the legislation governing parole to undergo military service under a contract during a specific period.
  • On 8 May, the Verkhovna Rada backed a bill in the second reading that would allow the voluntary mobilisation of certain categories of prisoners.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the above-mentioned law on 17 May.

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