NewsUkraine considers enlisting convicts for non-combat army roles

Ukraine considers enlisting convicts for non‑combat army roles

The Ukrainian army plans to call up prisoners into the military.
The Ukrainian army plans to call up prisoners into the military.
Images source: © Unsplash | Vony Razom

11:13 AM EDT, April 21, 2024

The Ukrainian Minister of Justice, Denys Maluska, announced that Ukraine is considering the formation of separate units comprised of volunteers from the convict population to join the army. The relevant draft law is currently under review by the Ukrainian parliament.

As stated by Denys Maluska, the convicts who join the army would be assigned tasks that do not require the use of weapons, such as constructing fortifications.

"Much of the physical labor involved doesn't necessitate weapon use, available around the clock, every day. I believe such units could significantly aid in the construction of infrastructure, engineering projects, and defensive works. Our soldiers spend a considerable amount of time digging; our 'proteges' could greatly alleviate the workload of many soldiers," Denys Maluśka explained.

The draft law received support from the majority of Ukrainian parliament members during its initial reading.

According to Ivan Tymochko, the chairman of the reservist council of the Ukrainian land forces, the mobilization process should be equitable, not discriminating based on social or professional status. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine guarantees that convicts who have committed grave offenses against state security will not be deployed to the frontlines.

Olena Szulak highlighted that conscripted convicts will have the opportunity to serve in specialist units or sub-units, conditional upon approval from the unit commander accountable for overseeing their service:

"It is essential to recognize the need for specific administrative supervision for convicts serving sentences. They will be recorded in a special military registry. Should there be any infractions, they will face severe consequences. For instance, a convict who signs up but then deserts will face stark repercussions," Olena Szulak detailed.
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