Kremlin Says No Decision To Close Borders As Many Flee Russia To Avoid Military Mobilization


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the government does not plan to seal off borders as tens of thousands of cars with fleeing Russians, mostly men, cross into Georgia, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization to support the ongoing war in Ukraine.

While answering a question about rumors of a possible closure of the borders at a press conference in Moscow on September 26, Peskov said, "I am not aware of anything like that."

"At this moment, no decisions regarding that were made," Peskov said.

Meanwhile, Russians continue to leave the country in droves, with some local media outlets saying that more than 260,000 have fled since the Kremlin announced the partial mobilization last week.

The acting chief of Kazakhstan's migration committee, Colonel Aslan Atalyqov, said on September 26 that the number of Russian citizens entering the Central Asian nation since September 22 had dramatically increased.

He said that around 40,000 Russian citizens had already left for other countries -- mainly Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan -- after entering Kazakhstan in recent days.

The influx has put so much pressure on accommodations in Kazakhstan that the administration of a cinema in the city of Oral said it would allow Russian nationals arriving without a place to stay to use the theater's premises for temporary living.

Over the weekend, Mongolia's former president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, issued a video statement on YouTube, calling on Russian citizens of Tyvan, Buryat, and Kalmyk origin to flee Russia instead of "killing Ukrainians."

"I know that since the start of this bloody war, ethnic minorities who live in Russia have suffered the most. The Buryat Mongols, the Tyva Mongols, the Kalmyk Mongols have suffered a lot. They have been used as nothing more than cannon fodder. Hundreds of them are wounded, thousands of them have been killed. We the Mongols, will meet you with open arms and hearts," the former president said.

Elbegdorj also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately end the war, saying that Ukraine has a right to exist as a free nation.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Idel.Realities, and Siberia.Realities