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Ukraine Won’t Let US-Ukrainian Dual Citizens Leave Country and Avoid Military Draft, Embassy Warns

Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers assault an OPFOR controlled mock village during training at Rapid Trident 2021. (Staff Sgt. David Carnahan/U.S. Army)
June 06, 2024

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has warned dual U.S.-Ukrainian citizens that they won’t be able to flee Ukraine if they are in the country’s military draft pool.

“Ukrainian law does not recognize dual citizenship. U.S.-Ukrainian dual citizens are therefore treated solely as Ukrainian citizens while in Ukraine and are subject to the rights and obligations of Ukrainian citizens,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Tuesday. “Under Ukraine’s martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not permitted to leave the country. Previously, dual U.S.-Ukrainian citizens in this group could enter and then depart Ukraine if they had deregistered their Ukrainian residency and registered their U.S. residency. According to our information, this exception was revoked as of June 1.”

The warning statement goes on to claim that the U.S. Embassy claims has little ability to influence Ukrainian law, including to intervene in the country’s military mobilization efforts.

“If you are in Ukraine and cannot leave the country, shelter in place and obey all local orders. If you are not currently in Ukraine, we strongly recommend against all travel to Ukraine by U.S. citizen males aged 18 to 60 who also have Ukrainian citizenship or a claim to Ukrainian citizenship and who do not wish to stay in Ukraine indefinitely. There is an extremely high risk you will not be allowed to depart, even with a U.S. passport.”

The new restrictions barring dual citizens from escaping Ukrainian military draft efforts come as the country is continuing to fight Russian invasion forces, and scrambling for manpower.

The claim by the U.S. Embassy, that it can do little to prevent U.S.-Ukrainian dual citizens from being pressed into military service comes even as the United States has provided tens of billions in military assistance and other support for Ukraine’s ongoing war effort with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently implored President Joe Biden and leaders of other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member nations for permission to use NATO-donated weapons to strike targets inside Russia’s borders.

Biden has previously demonstrated a willingness to condition U.S. aid to foreign partners on those partner nations delivering on specific policy requests. In May, Biden threatened to hold up deliveries of weapons to Israel if it didn’t take steps to limit its offensive military operations in the southern Gazan city of Rafah and avoid civilian casualties.

In 2016, then-Vice President Biden communicated to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the U.S. could hold up $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine unless Poroshenko helped oust then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin from office. Biden and his allies have claimed removing Shokin was a U.S. policy objective because they viewed him as unwilling to combat corruption within the country; however, the 2016 incident has fueled claims Biden actually sought to oust Shokin because the prosecutor was investigating Burisma Holdings, a gas company that had hired Biden’s son Hunter to serve on its board of directors.

FreeBase News has reached out to the U.S. State Department about what measures, if any, they are taking, including conditioning U.S. aid for Ukraine, to ensure U.S. citizens are not forced to fight in the ongoing war with Russia against their will. The State Department has yet to respond to this inquiry.

This article was originally published by FreeBase News and is reprinted with permission.