The Ukraine government announced last week (on Thursday night) that the men would be required to remain in the country as the Russian invasion intensified, while its defence ministry said there was “no age requirement” on joining the force.
Ukraine’s state border guard service (DPSA) said that the measure would remain in place for the duration of martial law.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered a general military mobilisation and in a declaration signed on late Thursday, Zelensky said,
In order to ensure the defense of the state, maintaining combat and mobilisation readiness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations.
The announcement said,
Mobilisation shall be carried out within 90 days from the date of entry into force of this Decree.
At the same time, Ukraine has banned all-male citizens 18-60 years-old from leaving the country, according to the State Border Guard Service.
The statement said that following the introduction of martial law in Ukraine, a temporary restriction had been imposed. The statement said,
In particular, it is forbidden for men aged 18-60, Ukraine citizens, to leave the borders of Ukraine. This regulation will remain in effect for the period of the legal regime of martial law. We ask the citizens to take this information into consideration.
24-year-old Andrew who had just learned about the travel ban on Ukrainian men. He did not disclose his full name for security reasons. Quoting to the media, he said,
We’re staying home. We don’t want to leave.
Adding further, he said,
I can’t leave now because last update (was that) was that guys from 18 to 68 … cannot leave borders of Ukraine. We will stay here till Russians go home because it’s important to us to stay in our homes. We will stay with our government.
Poland’s deputy interior minister Pawel Szefernaker said Ukrainian bus drivers were unable to drive across the border because conscription-age men were being held back in Ukraine.
Women were seen crying as they are forced to part from their male relatives and partners, according to eyewitnesses cited by Reuters.
Iryna, 36, left Kyiv with her mother and two infant daughters but was forced to leave her husband behind. She told Reuters news agency after arriving in Ubla, Slovakia,
We left my husband there, so he is still there supporting our government. We pray for Ukraine and I hope everything will be fine.
The Ukrainian defence ministry urged men to sign up for the army and suggested those of all ages could join, saying,
Today Ukraine needs everything. All procedures for joining [the forces] are simplified. Carry only your passport and identification code. There are no age restrictions.
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