Man Marries 81-Year-Old Cousin ‘To Avoid Military Service’ In Ukraine
Officials in Ukraine are reportedly investigating claims a 24-year-old man married his 81-year-old disabled cousin to get out of military service.
The 24-year-old, Alexander Kondratyuk, apparently said he developed a ‘strong affection’ for his cousin who is 57 years older than him, and denied he was doing it to get out of military conscription.
Military service is currently compulsory in Ukraine, though there are exceptions, such as if you look after a wife who is disabled.
When questioned by reporters about the marriage, 81-year-old Zinaida Illarionovna reportedly insisted Alexander was a ‘good husband’ who looked after her carefully. However, neighbours claimed the 24-year-old was never seen in the area.
One resident told reporters the 81-year-old was ‘much more likely to be visited by her nephews, grandchildren and sisters than by her supposed husband.’
Neighbours also added the 81-year-old lived alone, and the only visible sign of marriage was the certificate Alexander brought with him every time officials turned up in the area to draft new recruits. By showing his marriage certificate, and Zinaida’s disability certificate, he was able to avoid conscription.
Despite his scepticism, commissioner Aleksandr Danilyuk – who is in charge of the Vinnitsa Commissariat, which handles conscription in the region – confirmed the 24-year-old had a right to defer his draft papers due to being the guardian of a disabled person.
Because Alexander has a marriage certificate and proof of residence, legally there is nothing that could be done. However, experts say the army could call neighbours as witnesses if there was reasonable doubt he lived at the address.
Roman Korchenyuk, a lawyer, said: ‘If they prove that there is no valid marriage, and that there is no common household, then he can be called up to do military service.’
However, army officials say they have no interest in pursuing the matter as they did not have the time. They reportedly said if the publicity of the case did not embarrass the 24-year-old into turning up, then they wouldn’t pursue things any further.
Compulsory military conscription was lifted in Ukraine in 2013. However, in 2014, then-president Oleksandr Turchynov re-instated the draft in an effort to address the worsening security situation, and the alleged threats from Russia along the country’s border, according to NBC News.
At the time, the presidential decree mentioned the ‘deteriorating situation in the east and south of Ukraine’ and the ‘interference of the Russian Federation into the interior affairs of Ukraine’ as reasons for reinstating the compulsory military call-up.
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