Many are trying to leave the country after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the call-up of reserve troops for the war in Ukraine.
Long queues have formed at the Russian border for emigration. But the Kremlin says reports of combat-capable people leaving the country are being exaggerated.
But at Georgia’s border with Russia, queues of cars can be seen stretching for several miles. A person who did not want to be named told the BBC that immediately after President Putin’s announcement, he quickly left the house with only his passport and headed for the border.
He did not take any clothes. He fears that he may fall into the ranks of those who will be sent to war as reserve soldiers. Some witnesses say the queue of vehicles at the Upper Lars border checkpoint has stretched up to five kilometers. A video shows some drivers leaving their cars in the long queue.
Georgia has a border with Russia. No visa is required to travel to Georgia from Russia. Besides, Finland has a border of 1,300 kilometers with Russia. However, Russians need a visa to visit Finland.
Finland also says there has been an increase in Russian arrivals through its border since last night. But it is still at the stage of handling. Many have also bought air tickets from Russia to Istanbul, Belgrade and Dubai.
Air ticket prices to these places have skyrocketed since President Putin called up reserve troops. Tickets for some destinations are completely sold out.
Various Turkish media reported that both the demand and the price of one-way tickets from Russia to Turkey have increased significantly. On the other hand, the German interior minister said that Russians who are leaving the country to avoid war are welcome in Germany.
But Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic speak differently. They said that they will not give asylum to those who fled from Russia. A Russian PhD student, who did not want to be named, told the BBC he had already been called up as a reservist.
The night before Putin’s speech, he was sitting at home waiting to receive a delivery of some goods from the store. Then two men in civilian clothes came and asked him to sign there with a military paper.
The Kremlin said only those with military training and combat experience would be called up as reserve soldiers.
But the 26-year-old has no military experience. His stepfather is worried about him. Because, after being called up by the government as a reserve soldier, if anyone wants to avoid it, then it is punishable.
Within two weeks of recapturing Ukraine from Russia, about 6,000 square kilometers of territory, Russia announced the gathering of reserve troops.
Protests erupted in Russia after reserve troops were called up. Police arrested more than 1,000 protesters. BBC