September 29, 2022

Traffic jams and desperation at the border as Russians flee Putin’s ‘partial mobilization’

6 min read




CNN

of Vladimir PutinPartial dynamicCitizens for it War in Ukraine Already, big changes have begun for many Russians, as drafted men say emotional goodbyes to their families, while others try to escape, scrambling to land border crossings or buying plane tickets. let’s try.

For many of those who left, the reason is the same: to avoid Putin’s brutal and brutal character. stagger Attack on neighboring Ukraine. But the circumstances surrounding their decisions – and the hardships of leaving home – are deeply personal for each.

For Ivan, a man who said he was. An officer in Russia’s reserves who left his country for Belarus on Thursday, his motivation was clear: “I don’t support what’s happening, so I just decided that I have to leave right away.” ” he told CNN.

“I felt like the doors were closing and if I didn’t leave immediately, I might not be able to go later,” Ivan said, adding that he was thinking of a close friend of his. There was a homecoming with two young children, which was the opposite. Not able to pack and go.

Alexey, 29, who arrived in Georgia by bus from Russia on Thursday, told CNN the decision was due to his roots.

“(Half) my family is Ukrainian … Now I’m not immune to this wave of mobilization, but I think if it continues, all men will qualify,” he said.

Cars line up to enter the Bersnychnoye checkpoint on the Russian-Finnish border in Russia's Leningrad region on September 22.

Putin announced on Wednesday that 300,000 reservists would be drawn up, as Moscow seeks to replenish depleted forces. Successful response From Kyiv this month. The move is designed to change the scope of Russia’s offensive from a volunteer-led offensive that draws in a large portion of its population.

The announcement caused an uproar for some Russians, with social media chatter on platforms such as Telegram trying to figure out how to get seats in vehicles heading to the borders, some even on bicycles. Also discussing going.

According to video footage, long lines of traffic have formed at land border crossings in several countries. Photos on Kazakh media websites show vehicles backing up near the Russia-Kazakhstan border. In one, posted by Kazakh media outlet Tengri News, a man can be heard saying his car has been “stuck for 10 hours” in Russia’s Saratov region, as he tries to cross into Kazakhstan. have been.

“Endless cars. Everyone’s running. Everyone’s running from Russia,” the man in the video can be heard saying. CNN cannot independently verify the videos.

On Thursday, Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee issued a statement saying the borders were “under special control” but were functioning normally amid “an increase in the number of foreign nationals” entering the country. The country’s State Revenue Committee said in a separate statement that since September 21, the number of passenger vehicles entering Kazakhstan from Russia has increased by 20 percent.

On Finland’s eastern border with Russia, traffic picked up overnight Thursday, according to Finnish border guards. Earlier in the day, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told parliament her government was ready to take action to “eliminate” Russian tourism and transit through Finland, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle. Is.

Many of those who went were men. Women are not part of Russia’s conscription.

Travel agency websites also showed Dramatic increase in demand For flights to destinations where Russians do not require a visa. Flight sales websites indicate direct flights to such countries are on sale until at least Friday, while anecdotal reports suggest people are looking for ways to get out well beyond that time frame. There was a problem.

At least two Russians who left the country, one by land and one by air, told CNN that the departing men were being questioned by Russian authorities, including questions about whether they had traveled to Russia and Ukraine. About whether or not he had received military training.

“It was like a regular passport control, but every guy in the line was stopped and asked additional questions. They took a group of us into a room and basically asked about (our) military (training). asked questions,” Vadim, a Russian who flew into Georgia, told CNN.

The movement within Russia’s borders that some were planning to flee is already underway.

Social media videos showed the first phase of partial mobilization in several regions of Russia, particularly in the Caucasus and the Far East, far from Russia’s wealthier metropolitan areas.

In the Russian Far Eastern city of Neryungi, families bid farewell to a large group of men as they boarded buses, as seen in footage posted to a community video channel. The video shows many people getting emotional, including a woman crying and hugging her husband goodbye, while he holds his daughter’s hand through the bus window.

Russian families say goodbye as men leave for military service in Naryungri, Sakha Republic, Russia.

Another shows a group of about 100 newly mobilized troops waiting alongside a transport plane at Magadan Airport in Russia’s Far East. Telegram videos show another agitated group of men waiting to be transported, reportedly in Umaginsky Ulysses in the vast Yakutia region of Siberia.

A crowd gathered near the city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border, to witness a batch of newly mobilized men. As they board the bus, a boy yells “Bye, Daddy!” And starts crying. CNN has not been able to independently verify the videos.

In other scenes circulating on social media, tensions surrounding recruitment were high.

According to a video, in Dagestan in the Caucasus, a heated argument broke out in a registration office. A woman said her son had been fighting since February. Told by a man that he shouldn’t have sent him, he replied: “Your grandfather fought so you could live,” to which the man replied: “First there was war, now there is politics.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday asked Russians to protest against partial military mobilization.

Thousands of Russian soldiers were killed in this war in six months. Tens of thousands are injured and disabled. Want more? no? Then protest. fight back. run away Or hand over to Ukrainian prisons. These are your survival options,” Zielinski said in his daily video address to his country.

Addressing anti-war protests that began across Russia on Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader said: “(The Russian people) feel they have been betrayed.”

But in Russia, dissent is generally swiftly suppressed, and after the invasion of Ukraine, authorities have imposed further restrictions on free speech.

The police Broke quickly On Wednesday’s protests, which were mostly small-scale demonstrations. Authorities have detained more than 1,300 people in at least 38 cities, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-Info.

Some of those protesters were immediately sent to the military after their arrests, according to Maria Kuznetsova, a spokeswoman for the group, who told CNN by phone Wednesday that at least four police stations in Moscow Some of the arrested protesters are being recruited.

Earlier this week, the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, amended the law on military service, making it punishable by up to 15 years in prison for violating military service obligations — such as desertion. To be and escape, according to the state news agency. TASS

Ivan, a reservist who spoke to CNN this week after leaving the country, described the sense of hopelessness felt by many in Russia in the wake of recent events.

“It feels bad because a lot of my friends, a lot of people don’t support the war and they feel threatened by what’s going on, and there’s no democratic way to stop it, even if you Also announce the protest”. said.



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