Thousands of Russian men and their families are lining up in hours-long queues at the airport in Moscow and land crossings into Kazakhstan and Georgia to leave the country as reports of imminent border closure, restricting the departure of conscription-age men, circulate.
Doubts on whether the mobilization is actually ‘partial’ as President Vladimir Putin declared or if it was just called so to prevent panic proved hard to push aside as reports of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, stopping men from leaving the country on the orders of military commissariats continue to surface.
“I don’t believe that this is a partial mobilization,” Daniil, a 35-year-old software programmer told Bloomberg News in the central square in the capital, Tbilisi. Daniil and his friends rented a van in Vladikavkaz with friends for 10,000 rubles ($170) each, to cross to Georgia. The line at the border was six miles long and took about 24 hours.
“I have this military card that says that I am a soldier but ineligible by age. But yes, I know that we are all reserves, and one day this moment would come, so that’s why I chose to come here. Their tactic is simply to lower the panic and say it’s a partial mobilization.”
Over the weekend, Meduza news website and exiled tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s media group said that unidentified sources are saying that once the sham referendums on the annexation of the four occupied Ukrainian territories conclude on Tuesday, men of conscription age will be banned from leaving the country.
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