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NBC News recently geolocated a viral video that showed a physical altercation between recruitment officers and civilians in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The territorial recruitment center in Kharkiv stated that the officers were aggressively provoked, although this was not shown in the video. One officer was injured in the incident. This kind of content has been feeding fears among draft-eligible men in Ukraine, causing some to avoid public spaces and try to find illegal ways to leave the country. Unfortunately, this has led to dangerous attempts to cross borders, resulting in several deaths.

Andriy Demchenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s border service, reported that 30 people have died attempting to cross Ukraine’s borders illegally since the beginning of the invasion. Draft dodgers use various methods, such as forged documents, bribing border officers, or hiding inside vehicles, to avoid being conscripted. Many individuals are conflicted, wanting their country to achieve victory but also trying to avoid conscription for themselves or loved ones. Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko stated that the government has no choice but to mobilize given the dire situation on the front lines.

As Russia advances in Ukraine, the country has been eagerly awaiting new military aid from the United States as its manpower becomes stretched. Ukraine has been conducting a rolling mobilization since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. A new mobilization law went into effect recently, requiring all men of military age to report to draft offices within 60 days to verify their credentials. The goal is to provide the government with a comprehensive understanding of who can be called up. Women are not currently being mobilized, but some have volunteered to join the fight.

The videos and media coverage of recruitment officers in Ukraine have been criticized by some officials, who believe they are being used by Russian propaganda to undermine the Ukrainian military effort. The public scrutiny and criticism of recruitment officers have caused heightened anxiety among draft-eligible men, leading many to try to evade conscription by any means necessary. The dangerous attempts to evade the draft have resulted in tragic consequences, with individuals resorting to crossing dangerous rivers and mountains to flee the country.

The government’s efforts to increase its military ranks come as Russia continues its aggression in Ukraine. With limited manpower, Ukraine has been struggling to fend off the Russian offensive. The mobilization law aims to streamline the drafting process and ensure that all eligible men are accounted for. Despite the challenges and risks associated with avoiding conscription, many individuals are desperate to find a way out of being drafted into the military. The government is faced with the difficult task of mobilizing its forces while also addressing the concerns and fears of its citizens.

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