ISTANBUL (AP) — Navy-aged males fled Russia in droves Friday, filling planes and inflicting visitors jams at border crossings to keep away from being rounded as much as struggle in Ukraine following the Kremlin’s partial navy mobilization.
Queues stretching for 10 kilometers (6 miles) shaped on a highway resulting in the southern border with Georgia, in keeping with Yandex Maps, a Russian on-line map service.
The traces of automobiles had been so lengthy on the border with Kazakhstan that some folks deserted their automobiles and proceeded on foot — simply as some Ukrainians did after Russia invaded their nation on Feb. 24.
In the meantime, dozens of flights out of Russia — with tickets offered at sky-high costs — carried males to worldwide locations comparable to Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Serbia, the place Russians do not want visas.
Amongst those that reached Turkey was a 41-year-old who landed in Istanbul with a suitcase and a backpack and plans to arrange a brand new life in Israel.
“I’m in opposition to this warfare, and I’m not going to be part of it. I’m not going to be a assassin. I’m not going to kill folks,” stated the person, who recognized himself solely as Yevgeny to keep away from potential retribution on his household left behind in Russia.
He referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “warfare felony.”
Yevgeny determined to flee after Putin introduced a partial navy call-up on Wednesday.
German authorities officers voiced a need to assist Russian males deserting navy service, they usually referred to as for a European resolution.
“Those that bravely stand as much as Putin’s regime and thereby put themselves in nice hazard can apply for asylum in Germany on the grounds of political persecution,” the spokesman for German Inside Minister Nancy Faeser stated.
The spokesman, Maximilian Kall, stated deserters and people refusing to be drafted would obtain refugee standing in Germany if they’re vulnerable to severe repression, although each case is examined individually.
However they’d first must make it to Germany, which has no land border with Russia, and like different European Union international locations has change into far harder for Russians to journey to.
The EU banned direct flights between its 27 member states and Russia after the assault on Ukraine, and just lately agreed to restrict issuing Schengen visas, which permit free motion throughout a lot of Europe.
4 out of 5 EU international locations that border Russia — Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland — additionally just lately determined to show away Russian vacationers.
Some European officers view fleeing Russians as potential safety dangers.
Latvian International Minister Edgars Rinkevics stated Thursday that lots of them “had been superb with killing Ukrainians. They didn’t protest then. It’s not proper to contemplate them as conscientious objectors.”
The one EU nation that’s nonetheless accepting Russians with Schengen visas is Finland, which has a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia.
Finland border guards stated Friday that the variety of folks coming into from Russia has elevated, with media reporting a 107% improve in contrast with final week.
At Vaalimaa, one of many busiest crossings on the border, the road of ready automobiles stretched for half a kilometer (a 3rd of a mile), the Finnish Border Guard stated.
Related Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin; Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark; and Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed.