White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that the United States is ready to welcome Russians currently fleeing Putin’s “unpopular” war and can grant them asylum.
“We believe that regardless of their nationality, they may apply for asylum in the United States and have their claim educated on a case by case basis,” she said. This as there are continued reports of “total chaos” at some key border crossings leaving Russia, particularly at the Georgian border.
“In the four days since the announcement of Russia’s first mobilization since World War II, about 260,000 men of military age have left the country, independent media outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe reported Sunday, citing a Kremlin source,” writes The Moscow Times.
While Putin’s ‘partial mobilization’ order of last week impacts reservists with prior military experience, who will be sent to Ukraine (the defense ministry cited 300,000 reservists would be called up), there have been widespread reports of young Russian men receiving draft notices.
The Moscow Times continues of border traffic jams, “With tightened entry requirements for European Union countries bordering Russia, most of those leaving the country have been heading for the South Caucasus nations of Georgia and Armenia as well as Belarus, Turkey and Central Asian countries.”
Reports from the region late in the day Tuesday suggest lines of cars over 10 miles long at the Russia-Georgia border.
NEW: Russians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s mobilization have created a traffic jam more than 10 miles long to the Georgian border, per satellite photos taken today.
The Russian news agency TASS said more than 5,000 cars were waiting at the border on Tuesday.
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) September 27, 2022
Some neighboring countries, most especially Baltic states, but also recently Finland, have moved to shutter their borders to all Russian visa holders as a measure to prevent an influx of Russian military age men departing the country.
Mongolia has also witnessed an uptick of border traffic. “The Russians are fleeing to Georgia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and other countries because they don’t require visas,” reports NBC. “But getting to the border has been an ordeal for many.”