Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada has amended some legislative acts on military service in the Ukrainian Armed Forces by allowing foreign citizens and stateless persons to serve in the Ukrainian army, and at the same time it has toughened the responsibility for mercenary-related activity.
The draft law on the amendments registered under No. 2389 was supported by 229 MPs registered in the session hall.
The draft law amends the Law "On Military Duty and Military Service," according to which foreigners and stateless persons doing active military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the law shall be designated as military personnel.
In addition, the draft law amends Article 5 of the Law on the Armed Forces, according to which certain positions of personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces can be occupied by citizens performing alternative (non-military) service in accordance with the procedure established by the law.
According to the draft law, foreigners and stateless persons enrolled for military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the first time shall officially undertake commitments to strictly abide by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, conscientiously fulfill the duties of military service.
In addition, the adopted bill increases criminal liability for financing mercenaries engaged in armed conflicts.
In particular, amendments to Article 447 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine stipulate that recruitment, financing, material support, training of mercenaries for engaging them in armed conflicts, war or acts of violence aimed at forcible change or overthrow of the constitutional order, the seizure of state power, obstruction of public authorities or violation of territorial integrity, as well as the use of mercenaries in armed conflicts, war or acts of violence shall be punished through imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years.
The punishment for the same offences committed by officials with abuse of office shall be imprisonment from 7 to 12 years with or without confiscation of property. If such actions have caused the death of a person, the punishment shall be imprisonment for the term from 10 to 15 years or life imprisonment with or without confiscation of property.
What is more, the draft law states that a mercenary who participates in an armed conflict, war or an act of violence shall be imprisoned for a term of 5 to 10 years.