The percentage that enter the army of those who are called up for the draft, the grounds used to obtain exemptions or deferrals, the legal penalty for draft evasion, the percentage of draft dodgers that is prosecuted and the average penalty they receive (1 January 1994 - May 1998) [UKR29317.E]

According to an April 1997 Amnesty International report, Out of the Margins: The Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe, "only 10% of those drafted [in Ukraine] actually enter the service" (55). This is corroborated by a 12 May 1995 Vseukrainskiye Vedomosti article, which states that "only 10 to 12 percent of the draftees are called up to the Army." However, a 9 August 1994 Narodna Armiya article stated that "approximately 33 percent of the youth who came to draft commissions [in the 1994 spring draft] ended up in the troops."

The April 1997 Amnesty International report provides a list of exemptions and deferments from military service:

Article 18 of the Law on compulsory military service in Ukraine states that in time of peace those draftees can be exempted from military service who: 1/ are recognized to be unfit for military service in time of peace for medical reasons; 2/ are not drafted to military or civilian service before the age of 27; 3/ are ordained and have a full time position in one of the registered religious confessions; 4/ are living abroad on a constant basis and do not have a permanent home in Ukraine; 5/ have sisters or brothers who died or became handicapped while serving in the army. Citizens who have graduated from colleges of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and continue to work within this system are exempt from military service as well, as provided in the law. Postponement of military service is granted for medical reasons, for reasons of professional training, and for family reasons.

The new Ukrainian Constitution adopted in 1996 provides in Article 35(3) for civilian alternative to military service on the basis of religious beliefs...The current law on alternative service in Ukraine extends only to those who object to military service on religious grounds (55).

The strategies employed for avoidance of military service are medical reasons ("medical certificates are often allegedly acquired through bribes"), failure to report to the draft offices, entrance into graduate schools, or postponement for family reasons (ibid.).

In addition, the 12 May 1995 Vseukrainskiye Vedomosti article states that the possession of hard currency and sharing it with "military commissariat employees" assists in the avoidance of military service. Zerkao Nedel claims "there are many way to 'dodge' the Army. It is primarily students who have the right to turn combat boots down" (26 Oct. - 1 Nov. 1996).

According to page 84 of V. Yarmak's entry in the 1996 Conference of European Churches' Ukraine: Conscientious Objection to Military Service - A Human Right, "In conformity to Article 72 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine objection to military service/usually interpreted as evading/is punished by imprisonment from 1 to 3 years."

According to Zerkalo Nedeli, "the Ukrainian Law 'On Administrative Responsibility' specifies a fine for ignoring the 'sacred duty' [military service]. True, until recently it was very symbolic - 60,000 karbovantsi. Currently, a fine will be calculated starting with an untaxed minimum amounting to 170 hryvnyas [H]" (26 Oct. - 1 Nov. 1996).

Information on the percentage of draft evaders that is prosecuted and the average penalty they receive could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, Zerkalo Nedeli states, "Last year, 20 people ended up behind bars for refusing to perform their public duty [military service]...." (26 Oct. - 1 Nov. 1996).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International. April 1997. Out of the Margins: The Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe." (AI Index: EUR 01/02/97). London: Amnesty International.

Narodna Armiya [Kiev, in Ukrainian]. 9 August 1994. "1994 Conscription Activity Assessed." (JPRS-UMA-94-037 9 Aug. 1994/WNC)

Vseukrainskiye Vedomosti [Kiev, in Russian]. 12 May 1995. "Reasons Behind Army Draft Problems Detailed." (FBIS-SOV-95-095 12 May 1995/WNC)

Yarmak, V. 1996. "Ukraine," Conscientious Objection to Military Service - a Human Right. Bremen: Conference of European Churches.

Zerkalo Nedeli [Kiev, in Russian]. 26 October - 1 November 1996. "Problems With Manning Armed Forces Viewed." (FBIS-SOV-96-215 1 Nov. 1996/WNC)

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report. 1994 - 1997.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, Internet, NEXIS/LEXIS, REFWORLD, World News Connection.

Jane's Intelligence Review [London]. December 1995 - April 1998.

Transition [Prague]. January 1995 - March 1998.

Uncaptive Minds [Washington]. Winter 1994 - Spring 1997.

Resource Centre country file on Ukraine.

Four oral sources contacted did not provide information on the requested topics.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact other oral sources.