Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age

Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age

KYIV (AFP) : Ukraine authorities on Tuesday suspended consular services for men of fighting age living abroad, after announcing measures to bring them home amid manpower shortages in the army fighting Russia.

Ukraine’s army has been struggling to hold frontlines, partly due to a lack of soldiers over two years into Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry “announced a temporary suspension of accepting new applications for consular services” for men between 18 and 60.

It made an exception for documents allowing Ukrainians to return to Ukraine.

The move would likely oblige Ukrainian men to return from abroad to undergo administrative procedures that were previously available abroad.

The government has already adopted a mobilization law, due to come into force on May 18, that toughens penalties against draft dodgers and obliges men to keep their military registration up-to-date.

The ministry said men would be able to access consular services once the law came into force and “after updating their military registration.”

“Male citizen of Ukraine aged 18 to 60 with valid military registration documents will have full access to consular services,” the ministry said.

Ukrainian men have been forbidden to leave the country since the invasion began, apart from a few exceptions.

But some lived away before the war began, and Ukrainian media estimates that thousands more illegally fled the country.