Vice Prime Minister for European Integration: There will be no forced return of Ukrainians from the EU

Sofiia Telishevska

Ukraine will not forcibly return men of conscription age from abroad.

The Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Olga Stefanishyna, reported this in an interview with DW, commenting on the issue of the termination of consular services abroad.

She assured that providing oneʼs data to the territorial recruitment and social support centers does not mean automatic mobilization to the front.

"Ukraine has adopted a law on mobilization, and we have to understand to what extent we can replace the guys at the front. It is about the mobilization potential — accounting and information. And this is the primary goal of our decision," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

According to her, the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs and Migration Ylva Johansson will visit Ukraine in May. He will discuss with the Ukrainian authorities the issue of the further legal status of Ukrainians abroad, because the current mechanism of temporary protection in the EU will operate until March 2025.

"Therefore, there will be no restrictions or forced return of Ukrainian citizens of any gender or age to a warring country. But there are no pleasant solutions to war issues, and letʼs not forget that the war is ongoing and we have to win it," Stefanishyna stressed.

On April 23, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine temporarily suspended the provision of diplomatic services abroad to men who are subject to the law on mobilization due to their age. The next day, the government of Ukraine published rules according to which passports for men of conscription age can be issued only within Ukraine, and not at foreign diplomatic institutions. This means that men between the ages of 18 and 59 living abroad will not be able to renew expiring passports or get new ones.

The government says that only men with valid military registration documents who have updated their data at the territorial recruit centers will be able to access consular services. However, the mechanism for transmitting such information for Ukrainians abroad has not yet been developed.