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Ukrainian border guard apprehends more than 22,000 draft dodgers amid the conflict with Russia

All Ukrainians liable for military service should show up at local enlistment offices for a “checking” of their documents, a spokesman for the country’s Ground Forces has recommended.

Vladimir Fityo made the remarks on Saturday while live on Ukrainian TV during a state-approved “broadcasting marathon” amid the conflict with Russia.

“Now I would like to remind everyone that the duty to defend their country is ingrained in the Constitution of Ukraine, and in order to be ready to fulfill one’s duty to protect Ukraine, one must come to one’s territorial recruitment and social support centers [enlistment offices] to update your credentials,” Fityo stated.

The proposed visit to one’s local enlistment office is required in order to “properly use” the limited resources of the country’s recruitment machine, as well as to exempt those not fit for service, Fityo claimed. The ‘voluntary’ call-up concerns not only military-aged men, but female medics and women with military backgrounds, he added.

“If there are any grounds for a deferment – produce them so that the resources that are there are used properly. A person who, according to the database, is liable for military service and is healthy, but actually has an illness, but did not report it – we do not know that the person cannot serve,” the official explained.

It was not immediately clear to what extent Ukrainians are actually expected to heed the spokesman’s call, given Kiev’s chaotic mobilization efforts, which have been marred by instances of violence by draft officers against conscripts, as well as a vast number of draft dodgers being detained trying to leave the country.

Speaking separately during the “marathon” on Sunday, the head of Ukrainian border guard Andrey Demchenko revealed that the service has caught more than 22,000 draft dodgers at the country’s border since the beginning of the hostilities. On average, at least 20 would-be-servicemen are being caught daily, according to the official. A vast majority of dodgers, about 16,000, had attempted to leave the country by crossing the border in unpopulated areas.

“About 6,800 more were apprehended at border crossings as they attempted to pass through using fake documents,” Demchenko added.

Ukraine has sustained heavy casualties during its much-heralded counteroffensive against Russian forces, launched in early June.

According to the latest Russian estimates, cited by President Vladimir Putin last week, Kiev’s forces lost “over 90,000 people,” 557 tanks and 1,900 armored vehicles since its operation began, with little to no tangible result. On Sunday, Putin said that the counteroffensive “has failed completely.”

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