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Ukraine war: Russians flee to border after military call-up

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  • Ukraine war: Russians flee to border after military call-up

    5 minutes ago

    By David Molloy & Phelan Chatterjee
    BBC News

    Queues have sprung up along Russia's border as men attempt to leave the country to avoid a military call-up for the war in Ukraine.

    President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation on Wednesday, which could see 300,000 people summoned to serve in the war.

    The Kremlin says reports of fighting-age men fleeing are exaggerated.

    But on the border with Georgia, miles-long queues of vehicles have formed including men trying to escape the war.

    ... Some witnesses estimated the queue of cars at the Upper Lars checkpoint to be some 5km (3 miles) long, while another group said it had taken seven hours to get across the border. Video from the scene showed some drivers leaving their cars or trucks temporarily in standstill traffic.

    Georgia is one of the few neighbouring countries that Russians can enter without needing a apply for a visa. Finland, which shares a 1,300km (800 mile) border with Russia, does require a visa for travel, and also reported an increase in traffic overnight - but said it was at a manageable level.

    Other destinations reachable by air - such as Istanbul, Belgrade or Dubai - have seen ticket prices skyrocket immediately after the military call-up was announced, with some destinations sold out completely. Turkish media have reported a large spike in one-way ticket sales, while remaining flights to non-visa destinations can cost thousands of euros.

    Germany's interior minister signalled on Thursday that Russians fleeing the draft would be welcome in her country.

    ... The call-up sparked protests in major Russian cities including Moscow and St Petersburg on Tuesday, resulting in a reported 1,300 arrests.

    There were also reports from Russia that some of those detained for protesting had been handed draft papers while in custody at police stations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked about the reports, said that doing so was not against the law.

    ... The independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which moved its operations to Europe amid a post-war crackdown on media, reported that Vladimir Putin's decree contains an additional paragraph which has been classified and kept secret.

    The newspaper alleges that the secret paragraph allows for a call-up of up to a million people, rather than the reported 300,000, citing an unnamed government source.

  • #2
    Russian Recruitment Offices Attacked Amid Anti-Draft Protests

    Updated: 10 hours ago

    A Russian military recruitment office and an administration building were attacked overnight Thursday amid nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin’s “partial” mobilization orders.

    In the city of Nizhny Novgorod 440 kilometers east of Moscow, a Molotov cocktail attack started a small fire at a local enlistment building, according to the local news website.

    Authorities said the attack caused minor damage to the building’s dental office, according to pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Mash.

    A military enlistment office in Russia's second-largest city St. Petersburg also caught fire overnight, with local emergency services suspecting arson from inside the building as the cause, the Sota media outlet reported.

    A slightly larger fire broke out at a local administration building in Tolyatti, a city located 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

    ... The attacks took place amid protests in dozens of Russian cities against Putin’s orders for immediate “partial” mobilization of the country’s 25 million reservists for deployment in Ukraine.

    Independent monitors say nearly 1,400 protesters, most of them women, were detained.