Ukrainians in Czech Republic called up to serve in war

An estimated 20,000 men living in the country have been drafted by the Ukrainian military to fight the pro-Russian separatists, but if they wish they can still avoid it

Prague, Aug. 12 (ČTK) — Some Ukrainian men living in the Czech Republic have received call-up orders from the military and they face up to five years in prison for draft evasion if they ignore it, the daily Lidové noviny (LN) writes today.

Some 20,000 Ukrainian men in the Czech Republic, mainly immigrants with long-term or permanent residence permits, have been called up. Most of them came to the country to seek jobs, but they did not announce their stay to the Ukrainian authorities, LN writes.

The Ukrainian government has sent them call-up orders with a deadline by which they must report to the authorities.

Yuliya Klochko from the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague confirmed that Ukrainian men would face prosecution if they disobeyed the order.

However, if they reported to the Ukrainians authorities in the Czech Republic (the embassy in Prague or the consulate in Brno), the call-up orders would not apply to them, Ukrainian consul Valerii Lobach told the paper. He called on Ukrainians to turn to the authorities.

Ukrainians often do not report their stay in the Czech Republic, because they do not know about this duty or they do not want the Ukrainian authorities to know about their whereabouts, LN writes.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Prague has not received any instructions from the Ukrainian government to organize the conscription of Ukrainians abroad, Klichko added.

They can naturally join the army voluntarily. However, the embassy has no data about the number of Ukrainians from the Czech Republic who have joined up.

After being conscripted, the Ukrainians would become military reserves. They would have to undergo training before being sent to military operations against separatists in eastern Ukraine, LN writes.

The Czech government has registered some 120,000 Ukrainians living in the country, while the Ukrainian Embassy estimates that up to 200,000 people with a Ukrainian passport live in the Czech Republic.

According to official data, 568 Ukrainian soldiers have died, and 2,210 have suffered injuries since the conflict erupted, LN writes.

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