Russians Flee On Boat To Alaska To Avoid Putin’s Draft

Photo not from the incident (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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Two Russian draft dodgers are now seeking asylum in the United States after landing on the shore of a remote Alaskan island, Alaskan officials said Thursday.

The Russian nationals arrived at a beach near Gambell, situated on a remote island less than 40 miles from the Russian mainland, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski called the federal response “lacking,” noting the Customs and Border Patrol’s dispatched the Coast Guard from over 750 miles away, according to her office’s press release.

The two Russians claimed “they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service,” Murkowski spokesperson Karina Borger told the Associated Press. (RELATED: Russian Man Reportedly Shoots Conscription Officer Rather Than See His Friend Called For Duty)

“This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don’t want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan said in the press release. “Second, given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America’s national security.”

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the incident a “surprise,” stating they do not expect a “stream of individuals” to continue. The two Russians now remain in Anchorage and await the US’s decision on asylum, the Anchorage Daily News noted.

Reservists drafted during the partial mobilisation attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on September 27, 2022. – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on September 21 a mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Russian men to bolster Moscow’s army in Ukraine, sparking demonstrations and an exodus of men abroad. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

Videos circulating online reportedly show Russian men breaking their arms and legs to avoid being drafted, Forbes reported. Around 400,000 Russians have fled the country after Putin announced a partial mobilization to bolster war efforts in Ukraine, according to the outlet. Neighboring Kazakhstan, Georgia, Mongolia, and even EU member states, have seen an influx of incoming Russians desperate to avoid service.