Reserves for the Armed Forces of Ukraine: why teenagers under 18 may not be allowed to leave Ukraine

Many teenagers aged 15-16 do not see a future in Ukraine, but the Parliament has come up with a way to keep them in the country. Minors might be prohibited from traveling abroad without an escort. However, after turning 18, young men are already prohibited from leaving the country under the mobilization law. And if the new initiative comes into effect, young men won’t be able to leave the country on their own, neither before nor after reaching the age of majority.

The restriction on the departure of teenagers from Ukraine to other countries and the development of the corresponding bill No. 9480 is related to the government’s desire to create a future mobilization resource. This opinion was expressed to Focus by lawyer Mykola Maksymov from the legal firm RIYAKO & PARTNERS.

“Against the backdrop of news about corruption and keeping people in draft boards, psychological tension is being created even for minors. Prohibiting independent border crossing for children under 18 is a way to create a resource for the Armed Forces in the future. Such a prohibition will also cause difficulties with adults leaving the country — they will have to seek lawful mechanisms to take their children out,” the lawyer pointed out regarding the issue.

See also: Neither to be discharged nor to go to the front: the war has turned conscription service in Ukraine into slavery

Maksymov is confident that such a law will not bring significant potential for the army and the country’s well-being. Many 15-16-year-old teenagers who are finishing school do not see a future in Ukraine. Upon receiving their diplomas, they immediately think about going abroad, and a huge percentage of people will leave. Only a few plan to stay in their homeland for higher education, the lawyer emphasized.

Roman Bondarenko, a lawyer from the public organization Parents SOS, believes that the government needs to create conditions for people to stay in Ukraine.

“You can impose prohibitions but Ukrainians will always find ways to leave. Obviously, we can see where everything is heading — soon everyone will be closed off,” he told Focus.

Today, the situation looks like this: boys at the age of 17 are registered for military service, and pre-conscripts are supposed to come to the Territorial Centers for Conscription and receive registration certificates. But even if there’s no registration certificate, lawyers say that prohibiting the departure of such teenagers is not possible. However, for those who turn 18, leaving the country is already prohibited according to the mobilization law. And if the bill No. 9480 is passed, they won’t be able to leave the country independently before or after coming of age.

How children are taken from parents from Ukraine in Europe

Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine explain the introduction of the initiative No. 9480 by pointing out that in European countries, independent travel is prohibited until the age of 18, and Ukrainian children without escorts are immediately placed under the care of local families.

But according to Natalia Lutsenko, the director of the Center for Child Protection Our Children, Europeans can only remove children from Ukrainian refugees if there is improper treatment and care for them.

As an example, the expert mentioned the case of an 11-year-old girl. Along with her mother, she left Hostomel for Germany at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The woman regularly consumed alcohol, and social workers decided to place the child with a German family. The girl’s father remained in Hostomel and is demanding through the court to regain custody rights for his daughter.

Focus media outlet has previously extensively covered the initiative of Ukrainian parliamentarians regarding the restriction of free travel for teenagers under the age of 18. They intend to allow them to travel only accompanied by one of their parents, guardians, custodians, or foster parents.

Lawyers previously explained that 17-year-old adolescents might face difficulties when leaving Ukraine. Starting from the age of 16, young people are required to be registered for military service.

Originally posted by Tymyr Savin on Focus. Translated and edited by the UaPosition – Ukrainian news and analytics website

See also: “Ukraine can be either poor or with migrants”: an interview with a demographer

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