Man, 24, Marries 81-Year-Old Cousin To Avoid Military Service
Officials in Ukraine are looking into claims that a 24-year-old man married his 81-year-old disabled cousin so that he didn't have to fight in the army.
Alexander Kondratyuk, 24, said he had developed a strong bond with his cousin, who is 57 years older than him. He also denied that he only married her to get out of doing his military service.
Conscription in Ukraine means that all men are required to serve in the military, although there are exemptions that are granted to people on medical grounds.
It can also be avoided by needing to care for a sick or disabled spouse.
Kondratyuk was made exempt from needing to join the army when he married his cousin, as he produced the marriage certificate saying his new wife is disabled.
The wedding itself took place in a small village near the city of Vinnitsa in Ukraine. The ceremony was performed on the banks of the Southern Bug, one of the country's biggest rivers.
Reporters questioned the elderly lady and she insisted he was a good husband who looked after her. But neighbours said they never see the man in the area.
One told a local TV station that the woman, Zinaida Illarionovna, 81, was 'much more likely to be visited by her nephews, grandchildren and sisters than by her supposed husband.'
According to reports, they said that she lived in the house on her own, with the only visible sign of the marriage was the certificate that Kondratyuk took round with him every time the army showed up to bring in new recruits.
When he shows the marriage and disability certificates, he is allowed to go home without signing up.
Commissioner Aleksandr Danilyuk, who is in charge of the Vinnitsa Commissariat - the organisation which deals with conscription in the area - confirmed that he had a right to have his draft papers deferred because he is the legal guardian of a registered disabled person.
Commissioner Danilyuk said legally there was nothing that can be done - the man had the correct documentation to say he was resident at the home and cared for her.
But a legal expert said that if they wanted to, 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."
However, army officials have confirmed they are not interested in investigating the matter and that if the publicity did not embarrass him into turning up, he can continue with the arrangement.
Featured Image Credit: CEN
Topics: World News