Many Russians flee to Georgia to escape Putin’s mobilization

TBILISI, September 26 (Reuters) – Russians are fleeing their country to neighboring Georgia in particular to escape President Vladimir Putin’s call to mobilize to fight in Ukraine.

Waiting times to enter Georgia were estimated to be up to 48 hours on Sunday, with more than 3,000 vehicles queuing to cross the border, Russian state media reported, citing local officials.

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, had already seen an influx of around 40,000 Russians since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, according to government figures.

“When we heard about the mobilization, we left everything at home and jumped in the car,” Dmitry Kuriliyunok said in Tbilisi.

“We are completely against this war. For us, as for others, it is frightening. Dying and killing other people, and for what? We don’t understand. That’s why we decided to flee,” he said. he added.

The number of people who have left Russia since the announcement on Wednesday of a partial mobilization decree as part of the “special military operation” in Ukraine is difficult to assess.

Scenes such as those on the Russia-Georgia border also took place in Kazakhstan, Finland and Mongolia, all of which reported heavy queues.

The Kremlin said on Monday that no decision had been made on closing Russia’s borders amid the departure of many men of fighting age.

Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, also acknowledged that certain letters of summons to go to an army mobilization center had been issued by mistake and that these would be corrected.

Senator Sergei Tsekov said Russians of military age should not be allowed to travel abroad.

“Anyone of conscription age should be banned from traveling abroad in the current situation,” he told the RIA news agency. (Reporting David Chkhikvishvili; writing by Jake Cordell; French version Laetitia Volga, editing by Kate Entringer)

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