Zelenskyy calls on men outside Ukraine to return home, contribute taxes to pay defenders
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo: EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO)

Men of conscription age who illegally left Ukraine should return to the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with the ARD channel.

At the beginning of the all-out war, people went abroad for various reasons, he noted.

"People saved their children, and everyone absolutely understands that. Someone left, and someone stayed here. It was the choice of each person, and this is a fact. Today, some people returned, and we are grateful to them. Not only to fight, but also to build and work. It is not like it is solely about the front," Zelenskyy said.

The front remains the number one issue, but Ukraine has a million-strong army, he stressed.

"About 30 million people work. We are talking about all the people in Ukraine. They all protect the country in their places, there are defense enterprises, there are teachers, doctors," the president said.

The head of state emphasized that the Ukrainian authorities would like people who left illegally to return to the country.

"The question is not that they should be in the army, we want them to pay the taxes with which we pay the soldiers. I am not shouting at Olaf Scholz to return them, we are in a democratic world. We need a law that works, according to which the authorities fulfill their functions," Zelenskyy concluded.

During the New Year's address, the head of state said: "Either you work or you fight. Because the biggest terrorist organization in the world is against us. And it is obvious how much more we should do, how much more actively we should do, how much stronger our unity and struggle should be."

Recently, the Ukrainian leader said that he has questions for men who left Ukraine and do not help it in any way while abroad.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine will not be able to forcefully return home men who have gone abroad.