Conscripts and mobilized soldiers – key points from new draft laws
Ukrainians mobilized for training (Photo:REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura)
The Ukrainian government has been working on several pieces of legislation concerning Ukraine’s Defense Forces and citizens eligible to be mobilized.
NV has collected the most salient initiatives that could soon become law.
De-mobilization after 18 months
European Solidarity MP Oleksiy Honcharenko submitted a bill (No. 9142) that allows for demobilization of soldiers that have served for 18 months during wartime. They will be entitled to a five-year deferment between mobilizations.
Soldiers will not be forced to demobilize, allowing those willing to continue serving, Honcharenko said.
The draft law was submitted to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence for review on March 29.
According to the current legislation, demobilization must be announced by the President after the end of martial law (currently extended until 20 May).
As the war drags on past the one-year mark, soldiers mobilized in the first days of the invasion are exhausted, having spent so much time away from their families.
They remain, however, critical for Ukraine’s defense capabilities, as it’s difficult to replace experienced troops with newly-mobilized soldiers.
In December 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected a similar proposal in a petition addressed to him.
Military Medical Commissions
Zelenskyy to visit Poland on April 5
A group of Ukrainian MPs suggested changes (No. 9154) to the work of military medical commissions (MMC) by amending Article 70 (Fundamentals of Ukrainian Healthcare Legislation).
The bill proposes to increase the number of institutions that can set up an MMC. Currently, only territorial recruitment centers (military enlistment offices) and medical institutions of the security and defense sector can host a MMC. The bill proposes to add state and municipal healthcare facilities to the list. The bill also envisages a push to digitalize MMC operations.
The draft law was submitted for review to the Ukrainian Parliamentary Specialized Committee on National Health, Medical Care, and Health Insurance on March 29.
In over one year of war, it is obvious that the current military medical institutions cannot cope with the influx of people liable for military service who are sent for medical examinations, as well as soldiers wounded on the frontline.
Soldier Myroslav Otkovych posted on Facebook on Jan. 27 about the bureaucracy and inefficiency a Lviv hospital, where wounded soldiers were forced to stand in a long line just to get a rehabilitation leave. He wrote his number in the line was 502, and another soldier in line told him that he had come there for 21 consecutive days.
The Ombudsman's Office recognized this situation violated the rights of the Ukrainian military service members.
Deputy PM Mykhailo Fedorov said that Ukraine plans to reform MMCs by introducing digital document management and automating process so that injured soldiers don’t have to stand in long lines.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Health Minister Viktor Liashko also said that MMCs would be reformed to remove bureaucratic and corruption risks.
Electronic Draft Papers
Mobilization centers may use modern digital technologies for informing Ukrainians liable for military service that they need to report to a territorial recruitment center.
The issue has become especially relevant due to the large number of internally displaced persons in the country, Fedir Venislavskyi, sitting member of the Committee on National Defense, Security, and Intelligence, and Presidential Parliamentary Representative, said.
It is hard for the territorial centers to find people who moved from their place of registration and have not registered for military service at their actual residence address.
The database of phone numbers of men of military age had been "almost finished" before the full-scale invasion began. "It’s technically possible to verify an online mobilization notice has been delivered," Venislavsky told Ukrainian TV broadcasters on 29 March.
The parliament is considering the idea, but the draft law isn't ready yet.
The intention to improve the mobilization procedure has been discussed since the beginning of the invasion.
Current laws stipulate that summonses are handed to a person for them to come to the territorial center to verify their personal information. This significantly complicates the work of the military due to imperfect databases, lack of resources, and massive internal migration.
One of the ideas was to distribute the notices through Diia (Ukraine’s e-governance app). Volodymyr Arap, a Kharkiv Regional Territorial Recruitment Centre military commissar, said that the nationwide database of men aged 18 to 60, could soon be transferred to Diia, indicating that everything is moving toward digital mobilization notices.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation, however, has stated that there will be no summonses issued through the app.
The creation of a registry of persons who intentionally evade mobilization was also announced by Venislavsky.
Should a person liable for military service fail to report to a territorial recruitment center twice in a row, the recruitment center will have the right to make their personal data public – name, surname, and other identification details. Should the person fulfil their obligation, the information will be removed from the registry.
The disclosure of personal data can put public pressure on a person who evades a summons to the territorial center, the MP believes.
Nevertheless, the proposal is in direct conflict with Ukraine’s existing personal data protection laws.
The details of the legislative initiative are still being finalized, with a draft law to be ready in a month or two, Venislavsky said.
Avoiding mobilization (e.g., travelling abroad) by men of conscription age is a hot topic on social media and part of Russia’s psyops. That said, Ukraine’s Armed Forces have said that draft dodgers are not an acute problem.
"We have counted, and there are not many of them – less than 1% of those who have been brought to both criminal and administrative responsibility, of those who received summonses. Those who do not appear are not always evaders. They may have many reasons for this," Roman Horbach, Head of the Personnel Department of the Ground Forces Command told NV.
With rumors of a ramped-up mobilization ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive and Russia’s plans to mobilize another 400,000 men, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that there are no “waves” of mobilization and the process continues gradually, according to plan.
We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News