Female conscription not part of Ukraine’s new draft law -parliament member

By Olekshandr Kozhukhar

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s new draft legislation on military mobilisation will not conscript women or introduce a lottery, a lawmaker said late on Monday, a day before the parliament’s security committee was due to vote on what to do with the bill.

“I can definitely say that there will be no lottery for conscription, no mobilisation of women,” Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence Yehor Chernev told Ukraine’s public broadcaster.

“There will be no unconstitutional positions.”

Tens of thousands of men volunteered to fight for Ukraine in the first months after Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, but enthusiasm has waned 22 months later, prompting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to consider a new draft law.

But proposed changes to rules on army mobilisation that would enable Kyiv to call up more people and tighten sanctions against draft evasion have faced public criticism. The parliament’s human rights commissioner said some of the proposals were unconstitutional.

The European Business Association said on Monday in a statement on its website that after reviewing the earlier proposed draft law it had concerns about several proposed provisions, including risks of corruption.

The Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence has been reviewing the proposed changes to the bill since Thursday. On Tuesday, it will either approve the proposed changes or send the bill back to the government for revisions.

“We have worked on the draft law on a clause-by-clause basis,” Roman Kostenko, secretary of the National Security Committee, told Ukraine’s Radio NV. He added the discussions involved hours of questioning top defence ministry and military officials.

If approved by the committee, the legislation will be debated and can change over two or three readings in parliament, whose approval is required. It then requires the signature of Zelenskiy to become law.

(Additonal reporting by Olena Harmash in Kyiv, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Ron Popeski in Winnipeg; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Jamie Freed)