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Russians flee to Armenia after mobilization of troops in Ukraine & More Latest News Here


In the arrivals area of ​​the Yerevan airport in Armenia, Sergei appears emaciated and exhausted after fleeing Russia with his son for fear of being sent to the front in Ukraine. Just like some of his compatriots “he doesn’t want to die” in the war.

This 44-year-old man, who prefers not to give his last name, is one of tens of thousands of Russians who have left their country since the invasion of Ukrainea phenomenon that seems to have increased since the president Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday the partial mobilization of the reservists.

The authorities said they would call up 300,000 reservists, but many Russians fear a much larger mobilization.

“The situation in Russia made me decide to leave. Yes, we left Russia because of the mobilization,” Sergei told AFP.

His 17-year-old son Nikolai agrees: “We decided not to wait for the army to call us up. We left.”

Although he claims not to feel panic, he insists on the “uncertainty” that reigns and speaks of his “sadness” over the events.

A sentiment shared by other Russians who arrived on the same flight to Armenia, a country in the Caucasus where they can stay until 180 days without a visa.

“It’s not good to go to war in the 21st century, to say the least,” says 39-year-old Alexei.

He does not know if he will be able to return to Russia one day. “It all depends on the situation,” she says.

Another Russian, who did not want to give his name “for security reasons”, said he was “shocked” when the mobilization was announced.

In Russia, “hardly anyone supports this war,” he says. “It’s so painful, I just want it to end.”

Since Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order, most of those arriving in Yerevan are men of fighting age.

Many of them seemed scared and reluctant to tell the reasons why they had left everything behind.

On Wednesday, more than 1,300 people were arrested throughout Russia in protests against the mobilization, according to the NGO
specialized OVD-Info.

“I’m scared”

Dmitri, 45, fled to Armenia with only a suitcase, leaving his wife and two children behind, with “no idea” what he would do there.

“I don’t want to go to war. I don’t want to die in this senseless war. It’s a fratricidal war,” he says.

According to Google Trends, a tool that tracks search trends on Google, the frequency of queries such as “leave Russia” increased almost 100 after the announcement of the mobilization on Wednesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Thursday that reports of an exodus of Russians were “greatly exaggerated.”

But flights from Russia, very limited and expensive since Western sanctions to Moscow after the invasion of Ukrainethey were almost full for almost all destinations still available.

And on social media, many fear that the borders will soon be closed, which would deprive Russians of going out, even by land.

Read also: “Russia does not bluff,” warns Putin

A 23-year-old project manager from Moscow told AFP on condition of anonymity that he booked a flight in a hurry after the announcement of the mobilization, although he had originally planned to leave Russia in October.

“I am afraid of mobilization. I am one of those who could be called up,” he says.

Among his friends, “some went to the demonstrations [contra la movilización]because they have nothing to lose. Others are looking at the laws and consulting lawyers to see if they are at risk of being called,” she says.

According to the latest figure from the Armenian immigration service in June, almost 40 thousand Russians have arrived in the country since the invasion of Ukraine began.

In neighboring Georgia, 50,000 Russians have arrived in the same period, according to official figures.

Read also: They can mobilize 300 thousand people, but they will not win this war: Ukraine to Russia

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