The number of Russian citizens entering the E.U. has jumped 30 percent since Putin’s call for more troops | The New York Times

by UKCHP_Admin

Russian citizens have been fleeing to the European Union in droves since President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement last week to call up roughly 300,000 reservists to the military, the E.U.’s border agency, Frontex, said on Tuesday.

From Sept. 19 to Sunday, nearly 66,000 Russian citizens entered the E.U., up 30 percent from the previous week, the agency said in a statement. Most passed through the Estonian and Finnish border crossing points and have E.U. residence permits, visas or dual citizenship. In the past four days alone, 30,000 Russians have arrived in Finland.

The numbers confirm other reports of an exodus of Russians since Mr. Putin moved to expand the war through a draft.

Since Mr. Putin’s announcement, some young men who previously thought they would not have to fight now fear that the call-up could force them to be next on the front lines. Tens of thousands of Russian citizens have rushed to leave the country, while others have taken to the streets to protest the mobilization, risking jail time in a country that has effectively outlawed criticizing the military.

In Georgia and Finland, border crossings have become clogged with cars. Satellite images from Sunday showed a long line of traffic near the Russia-Georgia border.

Some European countries have already imposed border restrictions with Russia, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which have closed their doors to most Russian citizens. Finland is considering similar measures.

Russia is also attempting to clamp down on citizens trying to leave the country. On Tuesday, the state news media reported that men waiting to flee at the Georgia border were being served call-up papers.

Despite the pressure from both sides of the border, Frontex predicted that border crossings would continue as long as there was “uncertainty” around the mobilization effort. It also forecast an increase in illegal border crossings and stays in the E.U.




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