Tens of thousands of Russians have reportedly fled their country since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, a phenomenon that appears to have increased since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists on Wednesday, AFP reported Thursday. The news agency collected testimonies of Russian citizens in the arrivals area of Yerevan airport in Armenia.
“The situation in Russia made me decide to leave. Yes, we left Russia because of the mobilization,” says the father. His 17-year-old son concludes: “We decided not to wait for the draft. We went.” If he says that he is not panicking, he insists on the “uncertainty” that reigns and expresses his “sadness” in the face of events.
His feeling is shared by other Russians who arrived on the same flight to Armenia, a country in the Caucasus, where they can stay for up to 6 months without a visa.
Many Russians are temporarily leaving Russia for Armenia (pictured at Yerevan airport on September 21) for fear of being mobilized for war in Ukraine. [Karen Minasyan – AFP]
“Almost nobody in Russia supports this war,” said another passenger on the same flight, before adding: “It’s so painful, I just want it to end.” A third man, aged 45, explains that he fled with just a bag, leaving his wife and two children in the country, with “no idea” what he was going to do there. “I don’t want to go to war. I don’t want to die in this senseless war. It’s a fratricidal war,” he sums up.
According to the latest data from the Armenian Immigration Service, almost 40,000 Russians have arrived in the country since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in June. According to official data, 50,000 people arrived in Georgia, a neighboring country, in the same period.