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Zelensky to Ukrainians: Come Home to Prison

© AFP 2023 / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIUkraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a meeting with US Secretary of State in Kiev on May 14, 2024.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a meeting with US Secretary of State in Kiev on May 14, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2024
During a press conference at the so-called Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky called on his countrymen to return to Ukraine, ostensibly to help “rebuild” the country.
The call from Zelensky for Ukrainians to return to the country is a thinly veiled attempt to press-gang them into service and send them to the frontlines as cannon fodder, Mark Sleboda, a security and international relations expert told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Wednesday.
Zelensky is hoping Ukrainians come back so their “press gangs can beat, conscript [them] off the streets, like we’ve seen in hundreds after hundreds of Telegram videos from people filming from the streets as the press gangs seize their husbands and their sons and fathers and drag them off to the trenches,” Sleboda warned.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky wipes his eye during a press conference with Finland's President Alexander Stubb, in Kiev, Ukraine - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.06.2024
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The request from Zelensky comes after the Ukrainian government suspended consulate services for Ukrainian men living abroad in an attempt to force them to return to Ukraine to renew their passports and some European countries, namely Poland and Lithuania, have said they will “help” Ukraine by sending military-aged men back to the country.
“We have suggested for a long time that we can help the Ukrainian side ensure that people subject to [compulsory] military service go to Ukraine,” Polish defense minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz said in April.
Earlier this month Ukraine announced it would no longer allow Ukrainians with dual citizenship to leave the country, prompting the US embassy in Kiev to issue a warning to Ukrainian Americans to “shelter in place.”
Meanwhile, the remaining men left in Ukraine are desperately trying to leave the country. According to Ukraine’s State Border Service, at least 45 Ukrainian men have died in recent weeks attempting to cross the Tisza River into Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia.
Last week, a video appeared on social media showing what appeared to be a Ukrainian border guard planting landmines along the border of Romania. Days later RIA Novosti reported that several Ukrainian men had been killed by the mines, which were manufactured by the US.
“Men haven’t been able to leave the country since 2022,” Sleboda noted, calling it “a giant prison for the Ukrainian people.”
“So, as Zelensky is begging people to come back, his own citizens are desperately trying to flee the country,” added Sleboda later. “Many of them dying in the process.”
Over the past week, there have been two high-profile mass escapes from Ukraine, Sleboda added. A group of 32 escapees, many of them reportedly Ukrainian intelligence and police whom the conscription has resorted to cannibalizing their own security agencies to send to the front now,” Sleboda described. “They were helping send people to the front, but they didn’t want to go there themselves.”
The other mass escape was a minibus, reportedly with 18 people inside of it, who managed to escape into Hungary, according to Sleboda and images online, “And Hungary is a good location for this, of course, because there’s no chance, at least in Hungary, that the government there will send them back to Ukraine at some point.”
But most Ukrainians aren’t so lucky and are forced to brave minefields and deadly waters or be forced to the front, where according to Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, 35,000 Ukrainians died in May alone.
That same month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kiev, where he went to a bar and played a rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Perhaps The Eagles would have been more appropriate:
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