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Friday, January 27, 2023

Border queues build as hundreds flee Russia

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Moscow: Long lines of vehicles continue to form at Russia’s border crossings on the second full day of Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.

Some men have bee waiting over 24 hours on Friday as western leaders disagree over whether Europe should welcome those fleeing the call-up to fight in Ukraine, the Guardian reported.

The Russian president’s decision to announce the first mobilisation since the second world war has led to a rush among men of military age to leave the country.

Witnesses on the border with Georgia, a popular route used by Russians to leave the country, said that some men resorted to using bicycles and scooters to skip the miles-long queue of traffic jams.

Footage from the scene circulating on social media appears to confirm these reports.

“I have been waiting in my car since Thursday afternoon,” said Anton, who declined to give his surname to the Guardian fearing it might complicate his travel.

“Everyone is worried that the border will be closed by the time we get anywhere close to it,” he added.

The usually sleepy border crossings into Kazakhstan and Mongolia have also been overwhelmed by the sudden influx.

Russian international borders remain open for now, but there are widespread fears Putin will impose martial law next week in an effort to prevent a further outflow of men, the Guardian said.

Countless social media groups have popped up offering advice on how to flee Russia while independent news sites operating from outside the country give a list of “where to run away right now from Russia”.

There have also been calls in the west to reverse some of its travel restrictions imposed on Russians.

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