Responding to the Kremlin’s latest mobilization effort, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Russians to either escape or surrender, stating that doing so would hasten the end of the “criminal war.”
After seven months of fighting this year, President Vladimir Putin’s order to send in an additional 300,000 troops has sparked scattered protests around the country over concerns that the government could soon seal the border to males of draft age.
The planned annexation of four seized regions of Ukraine has been deemed illegitimate by the United Nations, potentially leading the Kremlin to attempt to rush the process through.
Since Putin delivered the order last week to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists in the most significant escalation yet of the conflict in Ukraine, chaos has ensued as rumors began circulating that Russia could block the border.
However, the Kremlin announced on September 26 that no official decision had been made on whether to block Russia’s borders to stop an outflow of military-aged males fleeing the nation, according to Reuters.
“Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from traveling abroad in the current situation,” said Sergei Tsekov, according to Teller Reports. Tsekov represents Russian-annexed Crimea in Russia’s upper house of parliament.
The last few days have also witnessed the first persistent criticism of the authorities in state-controlled media since the beginning of the war, with pro-Kremlin commentators condemning officials for conscripting individuals who were too elderly to fight, according to Reuters.
The mobilization has also resulted in the first prolonged protests in Russia since the beginning of this year’s military incursion.
One antiwar monitoring group reported that in the country of 147 million, there had been 16,437 detentions for an anti-war stance since February 24, 2022. All criticism of the “special military operation” is prohibited in public, according to Reuters.
There are reports of a 48-hour backup at the only road into bordering nation Georgia, a pro-Western country allowing Russian nationals to enter without a visa.
Flights out of Russia have sold out, and automobiles have piled up at border checkpoints around the nation, Reuters reported.