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Law on mobilization: The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group analysis

31.05.2024    available: Українською
Denys Volokha, Mykola Komarovskyi
We explain whether going to the military registration and enlistment office (TTsK) is necessary and how it will issue call-up papers and register cars. And also, why the new law does not actually solve our problems.

Yevhen Zakharov, director of KHPG, said, “The authors of the law have done nothing to make mobilization attractive.” Illustration: Mariia Krykunenko / KHPG

Today, law #3633-IX, the “law on mobilization,” came into force. It was submitted to the Parliament on 30.01.2024, and the adoption of this law became one of the most discussed topics in society long before it was introduced.

The law was amended many times during its adoption—the final version is very different from the text registered at the beginning of the year. The “mobilization law” is not really separate but contains amendments to 16 existing laws and codes.

We have studied the adopted law, want to explain its legal terms in everyday language, and assess whether it is necessary in its current form.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group is a non-governmental organization officially registered in Ukraine since 1992. We have been fighting violations of the rights of Ukrainians primarily by the Ukrainian state, but since 2022, our primary focus has been documenting Russia’s war crimes and helping the victims. We understand that Ukraine will not be able to win without a well-organized mobilization. The KHPG employees are not exempt from active duty; several of them serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and relatives of two of our employees are in Russian captivity.

The law has come into force. Do we have to go to the military registration and enlistment office (TTsK)?

Citizens who are registered for military service must update their residential addresses, phone numbers, email addresses (if any), and other personal data within 60 days. There are three ways to do this:

  • by coming in person to the TTsK at the place of residence or military registration
  • through an administrative services center
  • through the electronic cabinet of a conscript, a person liable for military service or reservist

If you are abroad, you can do this through your electronic cabinet or by using the official phone number or email of your TTsK.

On May 17, the Ministry of Defense announced the launch of the Reserve+ mobile application, which allows you to update your data. It is claimed that after updating the data, it will be possible to view information about yourself in the Oberig register and generate a QR code that can be shown to authorities.

In the future, the same procedure will apply after a presidential decree announces the mobilization. There is no need to update the data every 60 days: it is required only now, after the new law comes into force, and in the future if a new war starts and mobilization is declared again.

Interaction with Ukrainian consulates abroad has become more difficult for men aged 18-60. A passport and ID card can now be obtained only if you have military registration documents. Consular services for those who have not updated their data in the TTsK are “provided subject to their simultaneous updating.”

Verification of documents and their photo fixation

From now on, during mobilization (except for the targeted mobilization), male citizens of Ukraine aged 18-60 are obliged to carry a military registration document and present it at the request of an authorized TTsK representative, a police officer, or a border guard.

TTsK employees or police officers must now record the verification of documents on a photo or video; this rule will take effect on July 18.

In addition, TTsK employees can use specialized software with access to the Unified State Register of Conscripts, Persons Liable for Military Service, and Reservists.


Call-up papers, online call-up papers, and “summonses”

The topic of call-up papers and the ways they are issued is very susceptible in society. According to the new law, a call-up paper requiring a person to visit the TTsK must contain a specific set of data:

  1. Surname, name and patronymic, and date of birth of the citizen it addresses.
  2. The full title of the TTsK that issued the call-up paper.
  3. The purpose of a visit to the TTsK.
  4. Place, day, and time of required visit.
  5. Signature (electronic digital signature) of the official who issued (generated) the call-up paper.
  6. Registration number of the call-up paper.
  7. An explanation of the consequences of failure to appear and the obligation to report the reasons for failure to appear.

TTsK employees cannot arbitrarily hand out call-up papers to passersby, which is now a common practice. The call-up paper must be prepared in advance, and its requirements must be addressed to a specific person already known to the TTsK.

Although the draft law contained a provision on “electronic call-up papers” when submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, it disappeared from the final law. There is still a provision about the electronic cabinet of a conscript, a person liable for military service, or a reservist, but registration in it will be voluntary, and there is no mention of sending call-up papers through it.

It is unclear then why the provision of “electronic digital signature” of the call-up papers was left in the law. Perhaps it was forgotten to be excluded or left for the future. The term “electronic digital signature” itself is outdated: in 2018, it was replaced by a “qualified electronic signature”.

The TTsK representatives handing a call-up paper must state their surnames, names, patronymics, and positions and present their service certificates. The problem is that the service certificate of a TTsK employee is not established by law, so it is unclear what kind of official IDs a citizen receiving a call-up paper should see.

The law introduces an entirely new concept of a “summons.” A summons is not a call-up paper and is sent by mail on behalf of the head of the TTsK only after the person has failed to fulfill his or her military registration obligations, and the police have informed TTsK in writing that they will not be able to detain him or her and bring him or her to the TTsK.

Call-up paper


  • must contain information about the person to whom it is handed and who is handing it, the registration number, and other information
  • must be handed only in person
  • the citizen may ask the person serving the call-up paper to identify themself and show the official ID
  • sent by mail on behalf of the TTsK head
  • is sent only after the call-up paper is served and a letter is received from the police stating that it is impossible to bring the person to the TTsK
  • it will not matter whether the person has received the summons

Unlike the call-up paper, which is served only by TTsK employees in person, the summons may not actually be received by the person. However, it will still be considered served from the date of “putting a mark in the post office notification about the refusal to receive the summons or a mark about the impossibility of delivering the summons to the person.”

The algorithm of the TTsK actions should look something like this:

  1. Personally deliver the call-up paper to the person, knowing their name and date of birth.
  2. Wait for the designated time for a person to arrive at the TTsK to expire.
  3. Impose a penalty for violating the legislation on mobilization (Article 210-1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses). The case of an administrative offense can be considered by the TTsK head on behalf of the TTsK.
  4. Contact the police to bring the person to the TTsK.
  5. Receive a written response from the police that it is impossible to do so.
  6. Send a summons to fulfill the duties of a person liable for military service/reservist by registered mail.
  7. File a lawsuit to restrict a person from driving their vehicle during mobilization.

How will driving be restricted, and will the car be taken away?

Military transportation obligation in the adopted law is not some legislative novella. However, the law expanded this obligation. Now, the following transactions with the vehicles registered by the TTsK will be prohibited:

  • sold or transferred into ownership
  • leased out
  • used as collateral
  • sent outside Ukraine
  • transferred to another region of Ukraine

The latter can be done after obtaining permission from the TTsK. The law states that if a person owns only one car, it is not subject to transfer to the AFU. However, this does not mean it cannot be registered and subject to all the above restrictions.

In addition, it is unclear how to determine if your car is registered with the TTsK. According to the law, the Ministry of Internal Affairs must provide the TTSKs with information about registered vehicles (this provision comes into force eight months after the law is published). There is no obligation to register a car on your own.

Vehicles are returned to the owner within thirty days after demobilization is announced, but the Cabinet of Ministers is to determine how the damage should be compensated.

Although the first drafts of the law proposed freezing accounts and imposing other restrictions on those who did not fulfill their military service duties, they had to be abandoned due to public reaction, which was publicly recognized by some MPs.

However, the restrictions on driving were left in place. This is the most severe restriction that can be applied to “dodgers.” It is imposed by a court only after the TTsK proves that the citizen has not fulfilled their duties. The court’s decision can be appealed to the court of appeal and the court of cassation, but the restriction will take effect after the first instance decision.

In addition, this restriction cannot be applied if it deprives a person of the primary source of livelihood (obviously, this should apply to professional drivers, residents of remote areas, etc.) or if a person uses a car because of a disability of Group I or II or supports a person with such disability.

Conditions of the draft deferments are becoming stricter

A second higher education degree will no longer grant a deferment from military service: it can only be granted if you strive to a higher-level degree than you have already obtained.

Also, fathers with many children (three or more dependent children) will lose their deferment if they are in arrears on child support for more than three months.

Young men under 25 are not subject to conscription, including those who have completed basic military training. However, this does not apply to those who have served in the military or become reservists while studying at a military chair at a university.

Earlier, the President signed a law adopted in May 2023 that allows mobilization from the age of 25 (instead of 27 before). The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group also explained what basic military training and basic military service mean, who must undergo them, and how.

The new law stipulates that prosecutors must undergo basic military training or military service. However, this provision will apply only to those who want to become prosecutors after martial law ends. This also applies to women.

Also, men under 60 will not be able to serve in local government without undergoing basic military training or service.

Mobilization of convicts

Convicts released on probation can now be mobilized, except for those convicted of crimes against national security (treason, collaboration, etc.).

The corresponding provision in the “mobilization” law is much narrower than what is usually understood as “mobilization of prisoners.” However, on May 8, the Verkhovna Rada adopted law #3626-IX, which directly concerns convicts’ participation in the war.

Benefits and additional payments to the military

Soldiers who destroyed enemy military equipment will now be paid a remuneration of 4 to 300 subsistence minimums (currently, it is from UAH 12,112 to UAH 908,400) and receive up to 15 days of vacation per year.

Within three months of signing the contract, the military is entitled to receive a certificate of UAH 150,000 to buy a vehicle. Also, after signing the first contract, they can receive 50% compensation for the first mortgage payment and additional compensation of UAH 100,000 after the first and second years of service.

No credit interest, penalties, or fines will be charged to those mobilized. This does not apply to loans for the purchase of housing and cars.

Compensation in the event of the death of a service member during martial law cannot be less than UAH 15 million.


Is this law necessary?

There is an apparent demand for “fair mobilization” in Ukrainian society. If we abstract from all the philosophical theories of fairness, we can say that people want clarity and predictability: they want to know who will be mobilized, when, where they will serve, and when they can leave the service.

We can definitely say that the adopted law has almost no effect on this.

It somewhat expands the capabilities of the TTsK. Only the driving restriction was added to the measures, influencing those who did not attend the call-up. At the same time, since 2023, the penalties for leaving the service or failing to comply with an order have become much more severe for active military personnel.

The ban on traveling outside the region in a car registered with the TTsK is very questionable. The very essence of having a car is lost If you cannot move freely in it. Henry Ford said that if he did what people wanted, he would have to create faster horses. Perhaps horses will become a more mobile vehicle under such conditions. Currently, the TTsKs evidently do not have enough resources to serve all the people receiving call-up papers, so the obligation to ask permission to leave the region will not work in practice.

An essential feature of the law is that the Cabinet of Ministers, which is mentioned 39 times in the document, is to determine how it will work. Even before the full-scale war, Ukraine had a dubious practice of imposing restrictions by bylaws, such as the 2020 lockdown measures. Now, men’s travel abroad is similarly restricted because it is prohibited by a government decree but not by law. Moreover, even this decree does not contain a ban; it only lists those allowed to travel abroad. We wrote about this in detail in our article about students going abroad.

The issue of restrictions for men living abroad is actively discussed in society. According to the KHPG director, “it pushes Ukrainians abroad away from Ukraine, demotivates them to continue helping the defense forces and those affected by the war. The termination of consular services is a purely Soviet means of coercion and will in no way return those who went abroad by deception. The authors of the law did nothing to make mobilization attractive.”

Military lawyer Vitaliy Pogosyan assesses the law in the following way: “The general impression is that there are more extremities than positive changes. Mobilization is not only about serving call-up papers and restricting rights but instead of a clear set of measures, this law discusses only the strengthening of mobilization plans for men and restrictions on their rights.”

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