Russia will stop issuing passports to reservists called up for the partial mobilization announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. The information was released this Wednesday (28/09) on a Russian government information portal, at a time when thousands of people are trying to flee the country before being sent to the fighting. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 300,000 reservists will be called up.
“If a citizen has already been summoned for military service or received a summons (for mobilization or enlistment), the international passport will be refused”, says the government portal, referring that, in these cases, “a notice will be given to the citizen to explain the reason for the refusal and the period of validity of that refusal”.
Russians need an international passport to travel to most countries, although they can travel to nations like Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with an internal passport, equivalent to an identity card.
The announcement of restrictions on the issuance of international passports comes as many Russians fear closing borders to prevent further flight. Since Putin’s announcement, queues have formed at Russia’s land borders and flights to countries that do not require visas for Russian citizens have filled up. Protests against the mobilization spread across the country, with hundreds of prisoners.
Although Putin has assured that only those who already have military experience or skills relevant to the army would be mobilized, the recruitment of the elderly, the sick and students, supposedly exempt, is causing unease among the population.
Vehicular restrictions at the Georgian border
Due to the high flow of vehicles, the Russian region of North Ossetia, on the border with Georgia, on Wednesday restricted the entry of cars into its territory, after gigantic queues of Russians who wanted to escape the mobilization of reservists formed. .
The region’s top leader, Sergey Menyaylo, signed a decree “restricting the entry of passenger vehicles into the territory of North Ossetia”, the regional government announced on its Telegram account.
Thousands of people try to leave Russia across the Georgian border — Photo: Yelena Afonina/dpa/TASS/picture alliance
Under the new order, only people heading to holiday camps or other tourist facilities will be able to enter the territory. Menyaylo said he introduced the ban after 20,000 people crossed the border into Georgia in just two days.
“We will not be physically able to guarantee order and security if this flow continues to grow,” he said, noting that cars with North Ossetian plates are exempt from the ban.
The restrictions complicate the journey between the regional capital, Vladikavkaz, and the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, which is 200 kilometers to the south and where many Russian citizens have headed since Putin ordered partial mobilization.
Russian entry into the EU grows by 30%
The number of Russian citizens who have crossed the country’s borders into the European Union (EU) has increased by 30% in a week, the European Border Guard Agency (Frontex) said on Tuesday. Some 66,000 Russians entered the European bloc in the last week, most through Finland and Estonia.
Finland has already announced that it will adopt a “strict policy” to reduce the issuance of visas for Russians who want to enter the country, in an attempt to contain the situation, explaining that the increase in entries is causing “serious damage to Helsinki’s international position”. .
Finland and Russia share a border of around 1,340 kilometers, the longest of any European Union country. Until now, Russian tourists have been able to enter the Schengen area by land via the Finnish border, unlike the Baltic countries and Poland, which have imposed stricter restrictions.
The Latvian government has declared a “preventive state of emergency” on the country’s border with Russia in the face of the possible mass arrival of Russians.
Oliver Morin/AFP — Photo: Oliver Morin/AFP
US asks Americans to leave Russia
Also on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Russia issued a new security alert, urging US citizens to leave Russian territory as soon as possible and warning that commercial flights are increasingly limited, but that land borders are still open.
The US embassy also warned that Moscow could start denying dual citizenship and, consequently, consular assistance to US citizens.
In addition to the US, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria also urged their citizens to leave Russia as quickly as possible, with the means of transport available. The governments of these countries mainly fear that men of military age may find it increasingly difficult to leave Russian territory, due to Putin’s partial call-up.