Ukrainian men risk lives crossing borders to avoid war draft.

According to Ukraine’s border service spokesman, approximately 30 Ukrainian men have lost their lives attempting to illegally cross the country’s borders to evade military conscription amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, which commenced in 2022.

Andriy Demchenko stated that these fatalities occurred during perilous attempts, including traversing mountainous terrain or crossing treacherous rivers. He highlighted that since the onset of the full-scale invasion, around 30 individuals have perished in such endeavors.

Ukraine’s martial law imposes restrictions on male citizens aged between 18 and 60, barring them from leaving the country to prevent their potential deployment in the conflict. Notably, the State Border Guard Service reported that 24 men lost their lives while attempting to cross the Tisa river along Ukraine’s border with Romania.

Demchenko disclosed that border guards have uncovered approximately 450 criminal groups engaged in smuggling individuals across the border since the war’s commencement. Illegal border crossing attempts are reported daily, with a significant number occurring outside designated checkpoints, particularly along the borders with Moldova and Romania.

The spokesman emphasized that the highest incidence of attempted border crossings with forged documents is observed on the border with Poland. Furthermore, he revealed that an average of 10 men are intercepted daily while trying to clandestinely exit Ukraine.

In response to the situation, Ukraine recently suspended consular services for military-age male citizens until May 18, admonishing Ukrainian expatriates who seek assistance from the state without contributing to the country’s defense efforts against Russia.

A report by the BBC in November, citing data on illegal border crossings from neighboring countries, indicated that nearly 20,000 men have fled Ukraine since the conflict’s onset to evade conscription. This underscores the grim reality faced by many Ukrainian men seeking to avoid involvement in the war.