Poland calls for EU coordination on status of military-age Ukrainian men

Last week, Kiev suspended consular services to males residing abroad in an effort to compel them to register for military service.

The European Union should develop a uniform approach to dealing with draft-eligible Ukrainian men living in the bloc, according to Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz. He added that Warsaw was willing to assist Kiev in this regard, as Ukraine has recently stepped up efforts to conscript more servicemen.
Facing a worsening shortage of personnel at the front line, the Ukrainian government last month amended its mobilization laws, lowering the age of conscription from 27 to 25, tightening exemptions, and adding harsher penalties for draft dodgers. Last week, the Ukrainian authorities also stopped issuing passports to all men aged 18 to 60 who live abroad and have not registered at a military recruitment center back home.

He stated that should Ukraine request support or assistance, Poland would cooperate. Kosiniak-Kamysz also revealed that Polish ministers had discussed the issue of extending residence permits for Ukrainian men residing in the country.
Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has been less definitive, describing the matter as “ethically ambiguous.”
Last Wednesday, the Polish defense minister told the Polsat broadcaster that “many of our compatriots were and are outraged when they see young Ukrainian men in cafes and hear about how much effort it takes us to help Ukraine.”
On Monday, the prime minister of neighboring Lithuania, Ingrida Simonyte, said that her country could take steps to make conscription-age men return to Ukraine through residence permit extensions. She also maintained that any such steps should be discussed at the EU level.
According to Simonyte, Ukrainian refugees residing within the bloc currently enjoy temporary protection status that gives them the right to extended visa-free stay in the EU, as well as getting help with accommodation, medical care, employment, and education. The provision is in force until March 2025.
An estimated 4.3 million Ukrainians currently live in the EU, of whom 860,000 are conscription-age men, according to Eurostat statistics agency.