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Slovakia sees rise in Ukrainian men fleeing before mobilisation

US southern border becomes a global entry point for asylum seekers
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Slovakia said Thursday the number of Ukrainian military-age men making irregular crossings has more than doubled in a year ahead of a new mobilisation law being applied in Ukraine.

The border guard service said 338 Ukrainians were detained and released in the first four months of the year — compared to 166 over the same period in 2023.

“In the first week of May, we captured 45 men on the green border,” Agnesa Kopernicka, a spokesperson of the Slovak border police said.

“In the same period of last year, this number was four,” she told AFP.

A new law coming into force in Ukraine this month will make it harder to evade mobilisation.

Since Russia’s invasion in 2022, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 have been barred from leaving the country and mamny have tried to flee illegally.

Kopernicka said Ukrainian men crossing the border are detained, issued with an authorisation to stay in Slovakia and released.

“Since the beginning of the war, there has been no readmission of immigrations from Slovakia to Ukraine,” she said.

She said that in March a Ukrainian border patrol official — unarmed and in civilian clothes — had made the crossing.

Since Russia’s invasion started, border guards said 1,484 Ukrainians had been caught on the border.

Ukraine’s border service said this week it had recovered the bodies of three Ukrainian men in the Tisza river bordering Romania — another route often used to evade mobilisation.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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