Justice Minister: Ukraine May Mobilize about 10,000-20,000 Prisoners

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Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska told the BBC Ukrainian Service that 10,000 to 20,000 prisoners could be mobilized into the country’s Armed Forces. He stated this shortly after the Verkhovna Rada passed a law allowing the mobilization of certain categories of convicts. BBC journalists asked Maliuska to comment on the fact that previously only the Russian authorities had favored mobilizing prisoners to the front. “I would be blind if I did not see the parallel. There is certainly a parallel, the minister replied. - We should not deceive ourselves, but it is still about the difference in approach. In their case it was forced mobilization, they forced everyone to go, they did not prepare anyone, without training it was just leather”. According to media reports, the mobilization of prisoners in Russia was unforced, but in the first stages of the war they were offered to fight for six months, after which they were to be pardoned and released. Later, the convicts started signing a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry until the end of the so-called “special military operation” and without pardon, but only with conditional release. The Ukrainian justice minister suggested that “ten to twenty thousand” people could be mobilized from Ukrainian prisons and “definitely not more”. “It’s a question of approach. I say - the figures are not final, because depending on each scenario the number will be different,” Maliuska said at the same time. He added that much will depend on military medical commissions. The law adopted by the Rada prohibits the mobilization of those convicted of serious crimes, such as premeditated murder, rape, sexual violence, as well as those who have received sentences for crimes against national security. Restrictions also apply to officials convicted of corruption. However, in the final version of the law, parole for service in the AFU was allowed for those who committed an unintentional murder (except for those who committed such an offence while under the influence of drugs or medication). The mobilization of prisoners is possible only by court decision and must be a voluntary decision of the person, subject to the consent of the commander of the military unit. The prisoner must be fit for service in the AFU in terms of his mental state and health. There should be no more than three years left before the expiry of his sentence. Ex-prisoners will serve in special units and will be supervised by the commanders of the military unit to which they are assigned.