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Outrage Unleashed: Ukraine Halts Essential Services for Military-Aged Men in Australia

Military-aged men in Australia (Credits: SBS)

The Ukrainian government has implemented a controversial measure aimed at boosting its military might, restricting consular services for male citizens of fighting age living abroad. The move, announced on April 23, means men aged 18-60 cannot access essential services like passport renewals, sparking anger and worry among Ukrainians in Australia.

The decision comes after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a new mobilization law requiring all male citizens between 18 and 60 to update their data with military authorities. The law also proposes tracking Ukrainians overseas and requires those seeking consular services to present military registration documents.

The consular restrictions, in place until May 18, have raised concerns among Ukrainians abroad, particularly those with health conditions or who fled the country due to the war. Some fear being forced to return to Ukraine or remain abroad illegally if they cannot access consular services.

Essential services for military-aged men (Credits: SBS)

Aleks, an 18-year-old who fled Ukraine with his mother Nina, is among those affected. Despite being epileptic and entitled to an exemption from military service, Aleks’s disability status has expired, and he cannot renew it abroad. Nina fears they will be forced to return to Ukraine, where they may not be able to leave due to martial law.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba defended the move, stating that protecting the homeland is the priority, and citizens cannot abandon their duties by staying abroad. However, many disagree, calling the decision illegal and unfair.

Military Serviceman (Credits: SBS)

While some expatriates support the move, others are outraged, accusing the government of breaking the law and violating citizens’ rights. The situation remains unclear, with many questions unanswered, including how Ukrainians abroad will undergo medical examinations required for military service or exemption.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates nearly 6.5 million Ukrainians have fled their country, with many uncertain about returning. The Australian Department of Home Affairs stated that visa applicants typically require a valid passport, but provisions allow for exceptions in certain cases.

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