Ukraine’s parliament has passed a bill that would enable some prisoners to fight in the armed forces as the military faces a critical personnel shortage and Russian forces continue to advance on the battlefield.

Iran PressEurope: Parliament’s chairperson and President Zelenskyy need to sign the legislation for it to become law.

The move on Wednesday marks a U-turn in Ukraine’s approach on the matter. Kyiv had long opposed the measure and had repeatedly criticised Moscow for mobilising prisoners to fill its ranks.

The legislation would need to be signed by the chairperson of parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before coming into force.

“The parliament has voted yes,” MP Olena Shuliak, head of Zelenskyy’s party, said in a Facebook post.

“The draft law opens the possibility for certain categories of prisoners who expressed a desire to defend their country to join the Defence Forces,” she said.

Mobilisation would be voluntary and open only to certain categories of prisoners.

Among those not eligible to serve include those found guilty of sexual violence, killing two or more people, serious corruption and former high-ranking officials, Shuliak said.

Only prisoners with under three years left to serve on their sentence may apply, she said. Any prisoners who are mobilised would be granted parole rather than a pardon.


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