More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join military, expected up to 27,000 recruits

One recruit highlighted that they could gain freedom and start a new life if they chose to go to the front lines.

by Sead Dedovic
More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join military, expected up to 27,000 recruits
© Sean Gallup/Getty Images News

As Russia intensifies its attacks, Ukrainians are attempting moves to ease their future tasks and prevent further Russian progress. Specifically, Ukrainian leadership is prepared to offer freedom to individuals currently in prison if they agree to serve in defense of Ukraine. This had been discussed several months earlier but is now being emphasized even more. 

Ukrainians, however, have excluded those convicted of murder, rape, * assault, or crimes against Ukraine's national security. Associated Press journalists, known for their captivating stories and firsthand information, visited a Ukrainian prison where they observed soldiers near the wire. 

One recruit highlighted that they could gain freedom and start a new life if they chose to go to the front lines. The recruit stressed that individuals must be motivated and eager to defend the country and help Ukraine; otherwise, without determination and patriotism, they are unlikely to be of assistance.

It is clear that Ukrainian authorities are doing everything they can to succeed in this war. The shortage of soldiers has been a huge problem since the beginning of the war and has worsened as the conflict has continued. Many soldiers have died on the front lines, and Ukrainians have considerably fewer people, which complicates their efforts against Russia, one of the largest countries by population. 

A large number of Russians have decided to go to war and assist Vladimir Putin in keeping his ideology active. Russian prisoner laws are somewhat different, as Russians allow even those convicted of violent crimes to go to the front. 

BBC reporters went to the scene and confirmed that many serving longer sentences were released to go to the front. This was the only way they could achieve the desired freedom. Additionally, there are financial benefits, as soldiers are paid for their service. Of course, many hesitate to go to the front, aware of the significant chance that their lives could tragically end. However, faced with the choice between freedom and imprisonment, many have chosen freedom.

It is expected that Ukrainians could also lower the criteria for prisoners and their military service. Prisoners can qualify for parole after an interview, medical examination, and review of their sentence. Upon review, conditionally released prisoners go to basic training camps where they learn how to handle weapons and other combat basics before joining their units.

Judging by the information, over 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners will be going to the front lines and have gained the freedom they needed. Additionally, it is expected that as many as nine times more prisoners will also go to the front. There are many benefits they can achieve by going to the front lines.

Field of Mars cemetery for soldiers killed during Russian Agression on Ukraine
Field of Mars cemetery for soldiers killed during Russian Agression on Ukraine© Sean Gallup / getty Images

The very fact of serving in the military implies the primary goal: Freedom. Following that comes money, but for some, the most important are honor and prestige, as they serve their homeland and fight to preserve its territorial integrity. A large number of Ukrainians left the country at the beginning of the war, seeking refuge elsewhere. Although such individuals have faced criticism and been targets of criticism, they believe they made the right move, stressing that Ukraine no longer has prospects for life. Of course, they are not particularly popular figures in Ukraine, and it is uncertain what status they will have if this war ends and they return to their country.

As of May this year, the Minister of Justice highlighted that Ukraine has around 10-20,000 convicts who could be mobilized in the future to serve in special units, as reported by RBK Ukraine.

Deputy Minister of Justice Elena Vysocka stated that before the law was passed, approximately 4,000 prisoners agreed to go to the front in exchange for parole in a survey conducted in April.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the future of war: Ukrainians will need military force

At the same time, about 4,000 convicts were denied due to diagnosed infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.

The question is what the future of Ukraine will be, and whether Zelenskyy will make some more moves so that as many Ukrainians as possible go to the front. Many soldiers died on both sides, so there is a huge risk, just like in any war. Nevertheless, groups like prisoners want freedom more than anything, and such groups are certainly what the Ukrainian leader needs.

The question arises that if the war lasts, and the number of victims grows, how much strength will the Ukrainians have to fight, and will they have enough military strength? Something will have to be done. Various options are already being discussed.

The most important thing for Zelenskyy is that this war comes to an end, with the question of recruitment becomes a thing of the past and a part of history.