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Ukraine eyes law to deprive people of citizenship

Ukrainian lawmakers have introduced a bill that seeks to deprive conscripts of citizenship if they left the country during martial law.

In a bill registered in the Verkhovna Rada – Ukraine’s parliament – on Tuesday, lawmakers proposed several amendments to legislation defining the legal regime under martial law intended to “strengthen the economy and defensive capabilities of the country.” 

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One of the proposals suggests that anyone liable for military service may be deprived of Ukrainian citizenship if they left the country and failed to return within 30 days.

The measure would apply to those who left and did not return without a valid reason, such as a ban on leaving the host country, natural disasters, accidents, business trips, official work abroad, hospitalization or other circumstances preventing the individual from returning back home.

The bill also states that the measures would extend to individuals who have left for the Russian Federation amid the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev and those who have submitted a written refusal to mobilize.

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On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on the extension of martial law and the terms of general mobilization in the country by 90 days, which is now awaiting approval by the Supreme Council of Ukraine.

Under Ukraine’s martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are prohibited from leaving the country and all citizens liable for military service are required to participate in the general mobilization of all reserve forces.

Ukraine imposed martial law on February 24, after Russia attacked the neighboring state following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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