Man avoids military service in Ukraine by marrying 81-year-old cousin

Man, 24, marries his 81-YEAR-OLD cousin ‘to avoid having to do his military service’ in Ukraine

  • Alexander Kondratyuk, 24, ‘formed a strong bond with his 81-year-old cousin’
  • He wed Zinaida Illarionovna, 81, in a village called Baykovka in west Ukraine   
  • Officials said he could carry on the arrangement if he wasn’t too embarrassed 
  • Conscription is mandatory in Ukraine but not if you care for a disabled spouse

Ukrainian officials are investigating claims that a 24-year-old man married his 81-year-old disabled cousin to escape having to do military service.

Alexander Kondratyuk, 24, claimed to have developed a strong affection for the cousin, who is 57 years his senior, and denied that he was trying to get out of performing his military duty. 

Conscription in Ukraine is compulsory though there are exceptions that allow people to avoid it. 

Ukrainian officials are investigating claims that 24-year-old Alexander Kondratyuk, pictured, has married is 81-year-old cousin in order to avoid military conscription 

As the pair produced a marriage certificate and proof of her disability, there is little that can be done by the Ukrainian military. Experts have suggested that they could force him to serve but army officials said there was no time. They said that if the publicity did not embarrass him into the army then he would be allowed to continue with the arrangement

The couple’s wedding took place in a village near the banks of the longest river in Ukraine. Some of Illarionovna’s neighbours said that she was more likely to be visited by her sisters, nephews and nieces than her husband

If you look after a wife who is disabled and can prove the condition and marriage with official documents, you are exempt from service.  

The wedding took place in the village of Baykovka which is near the city of Vinnitsa in west-central Ukraine, located on the banks of one of the longest rivers in the country.

Questioned by reporters about her marriage to her much younger relative, Zinaida Illarionovna, 81, insisted that he was a good husband and looked after her carefully. 

Neighbours of hers claimed that the man was never seen in the area.

One told local TV that the Illarionovna was ‘much more likely to be visited by her nephews, grandchildren and sisters than by her supposed husband.’

They said that she lived in the house alone and that the only visible sign of the marriage was the certificate that he took with him every time the draft board turned up in the area to bring in new recruits. By showing the proof of marriage, and her disability certificate, he was allowed each time to return home without signing up.

Despite scepticism, Commissioner Aleksandr Danilyuk, in charge of the Vinnitsa Commissariat which deals with conscription in the region, confirmed that he had a right to have his draft papers deferred because he is the guardian of a registered disabled person.

Newlywed Zinaida Illarionovna, pictured, told reporters that he was a good husband and that he looked after her ‘carefully.’ A military official who deals with conscription in the region said that Kondratyuk is now exempt from service as he is the carer of a disabled person 

Social media users criticised the 24-year-old’s actions but some defended him saying that it was better to live with this arrangement than to ‘go to war and kill people’

He added that legally there was nothing that could be done as he provided a marriage certificate and a certificate proving that he was resident at the home where he cared for her.

Legal experts said that the army could call neighbours as witnesses if there was some doubt that he actually really lived at the house.

One lawyer, Roman Korchenyuk, 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.’

But army officials said they had no interest in investigating the matter because there was not the time. They said if the publicity did not embarrass him into turning up, then he would be allowed to continue with the arrangement.

Online social media commentators lined up to criticise the man’s actions.

One, ‘Victor V.’, said: ‘The grandmother lives with a grey groat.’ 

While ‘Jan-Klad-Van’ said: ‘It’s better to laugh from this than go to the war and kill people.’


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