A key Zelensky ally claimed last week there was mass bribery by draft-dodgers fleeing Ukraine

EU members may soon be “flooded” with requests from Ukraine to extradite its military service-aged male citizens on allegations that they bribed their way out of the country, the Polish media has said.

The prediction by leading Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita on Monday is based on remarks made last week by David Arakhamia, who leads the parliamentary faction of President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling party.

The MP claimed that Ukrainian men have spent millions of dollars to obtain fraudulent paperwork granting them exceptions from the draft. Kiev would seek extradition of such people “so that they could be punished accordingly,” he added.

The Polish Border Guard told Rzeczpospolita they had records of 79,754 Ukrainian men aged 18-60 – the category that Kiev last year banned from leaving the country without a special waiver – who it believes currently reside on Polish soil.

In some past cases, Poland has agreed to hand over Ukrainians to their government, the report said. Those people were involved in smuggling illegal immigrants, particularly fellow Ukrainians, according to Rzeczpospolita.

The outlet added there were doubts about Kiev’s ability to handle the paperwork for requesting extraditions en masse, as well as Warsaw’s ability and willingness to comply. It has been “extremely rare” for Ukrainian men arriving in Poland to register as refugees, the paper noted, while each extradition case is handled by the Polish justice system, which takes time.

However, a Kiev-issued international arrest warrant for anyone alleged to have bribed his way out of Ukraine could cause trouble for the target, whose travel options in Europe would be highly restricted, Rzeczpospolita assessed.

Last month, Zelensky announced a crackdown on conscription chiefs over suspicion that some of them are taking bribes from draft-dodgers. On Sunday, the president announced his decision to sack Aleksey Reznikov as defense minister.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has also changed its standards for recruits. People who are HIV positive or who have hepatitis, as well as those with some types of mental illnesses are now considered eligible for military service, local media reported last week.

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By mrtrv