Around 200,000 men have managed to avoid Ukraine’s draft by fleeing to Germany, official government statistics appear to show.
Obtained by the populist Alternative für Deutschland party via a parliamentary question, the statistics show that 203,640 male Ukrainians between the ages 18-60 have fled to Germany.
This is despite the fact that Ukraine has largely banned men between those ages from leaving the country, with Kyiv making almost all males within this age range eligible to be conscripted into the military.
Petr Bystron, the AfD Bundestag representative who received the data, has interpreted the large figures as evidence that ordinary Ukrainians are starting to falter on the war.
“The numbers show clearly: Ukrainians want peace,” he claimed, describing the men as having “fled to Germany to avoid pointless death”.
“According to media reports, another 650,000 are in the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein,” Bystron added, saying that there should be “immediate peace negotiations” between Russia and Ukraine.
By contrast, others have claimed that Ukrainian support for fighting back against Russia remains strong, with one poll finding that more than four in five Ukrainians are against surrendering any territory to Russia for the sake of peace.
Seventy-five per cent of respondents said they were against agreeing to any form of concession to end the war.
A senior figure within Ukraine’s security establishment has suggested that the Third World War has already begun with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. https://t.co/AZHGB00v0j
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 7, 2023
Though most Ukrainian refugees in Europe are thought to be women and children, there remains a substantial contingent of military-aged men within the bloc who have fled to avoid fighting.
Although it is largely against the law for many of these men to leave the country, many have found ways of illegally escaping from Ukraine and into Europe.
There have been numerous reports of Ukrainian government officials selling travel permits for bribes worth thousands of euros, a practice described as “treason” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Poland is reportedly mulling the possibility of deporting such Ukrainian draft dodgers from its territory, though as of writing, no such policy has been implemented.
Poland has threatened to extradite all Ukrainian men of military age who have illegally left Ukraine to escape mobilisation. https://t.co/CTgnqkgH7l
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 6, 2023