ukraine conscripts
© dyvys.inUkraine conscripts
Those eligible to serve will now have to return home to procure documents or update their passports

Ukrainian consulates are set to "temporarily suspend" all services to men between the ages of 18 and 60, who will only be able to procure documents by returning home, Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

The measure is set to be enacted on Tuesday and remain in place until the foreign ministry receives guidelines on the controversial mobilization law that was signed by President Vladimir Zelensky last week.

The new legislation, which had been deliberated for weeks by the country's parliament before being adopted, is set to take effect in May.

A letter reportedly signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Sibiga and addressed to the heads of all Ukrainian foreign missions referred to two clauses providing a basis for additional restrictions on travel to and from the country, as well as limiting the movements of military-eligible individuals who lack exemptions.

Top Ukrainian officials have repeatedly expressed a desire to somehow bring military-age refugees back to the country. Multiple EU nations, such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, which have been among the prime destinations for Ukrainians fleeing the hostilities, have explicitly rejected the idea of rounding up and sending Ukrainian refugees back home.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuelba
© Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu via Getty ImagesUkrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuelba at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has also declared that Ukrainian embassy staff will not serve fighting-aged men living abroad who are unwilling to risk their lives for their country's survival

Kiev's diplomatic missions in several Western nations stopped processing such service requests on Tuesday, according to multiple Ukrainian media reports. Documents that have been finalized for fighting-age Ukrainian men are being withheld, reports claim.

Kuleba confirmed in a social media post on Tuesday that he had ordered the policy change and that it is meant to encourage men to come back to Ukraine for possible call up for military service.

"How it looks like now: a man of conscription age went abroad, showed his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state. It does not work this way. Our country is at war," he wrote.

The order to deny consular services to all men aged 18 to 60 was first revealed by Ukrainian media on Monday. Kuleba has since described his decision as "fair" and in line with the controversial military mobilization reforms, which President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law this month. The changes include various punishments for avoiding the draft.

According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc. Kiev has identified that pool as a significant untapped source of manpower for the armed forces.

When they come into force next month Zelensky's reforms will lower the draft age from 27 to 25, tighten exemptions and oblige potential conscripts to update their personal data with the Defense Ministry.

All men aged 18 to 60, regardless of eligibility, will be required to carry papers confirming their registration with a conscription office.

Asked in early April how many troops Kiev intended to mobilize, Zelensky dodged the question and claimed that Moscow had plans to enroll 300,000 additional servicemen. Russian officials denied his claim, pointing out that its military attracts enough volunteers to meet personnel goals.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday that Ukrainian military losses since February 2022, when the hostilities began, were approaching 500,000.