On Monday, as tens of thousands joined lengthy lines to leave the country, Russian border guards began preventing men of military age from leaving.
Despite reports in local media that an order could be made in response to the ongoing sham referendums in occupied Ukraine, the Kremlin insisted it had no plans to close the border.
According to reports, about 300,000 men have already left the nation, which is roughly the same number that Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, predicted would be drafted from the military reserve to fight in Ukraine.
Maxar released satellite images that showed a 16-kilometer-long traffic jam near the Georgian border.
The Kremlin was forced to acknowledge “mistakes” in the broad mobilization on Monday in the face of mounting reports of men being drafted who had no military experience or who had underlying medical conditions.
Rare Kremlin apology
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, issued a rare public apology and stated, “Those cases are being rectified.” “We anticipate that all the errors will be fixed.
On Monday evening, rights activists posted images of the papers preventing travelers from leaving because of the mobilization drive on social media. This led to the first reports of Russian men being turned away at the border.
According to The Bell, a Russian website, Russian officials in Moscow had lists of men who were scheduled to be drafted and they prevented them from boarding flights out of the country.
According to the state-run Tass news agency, officials at the Russia-Kyrgyzstan border said they were sending men who were subject to enlistment to register with military officials before allowing them to cross.
In the meantime, the Russian security service, the FSB, dispatched men in camouflage to the Georgian border, ostensibly to stop large crowds from pouring over.
Russians’ frantic attempts to flee coincide with reports that some of the men called up recently received little to no military training before being deployed.
Additionally, there were worries that Russia’s “referendums” to annex portions of eastern and southern Ukraine would encourage the Kremlin to declare martial law and seal the border.
Tens of thousands of men have attempted to leave Russia before Tuesday night, when “voting” in Russia-occupied Ukraine is anticipated to be completed, as a result of the rumors.
Human rights lawyers said Monday they were getting reports that border guards were beginning to block men from leaving the country.
Known human rights attorney Pavel Chikov made public a border patrol order preventing one man from entering Georgia.
Authorities in Kazakhstan reported three times as many border crossings per day than usual, and businesses began providing shelter to the tens of thousands of Russian men who recently flooded into small border towns, filling up all the hotels and driving up the cost of real estate.
At least 5,000 vehicles were lined up at Upper Lars in the Caucasus on Monday, waiting to cross from Russia into Georgia, which has become one of the most popular escape routes, according to Russian authorities.
Approximately 115,000 people and 37,000 cars crossed the border from Russia last week, according to authorities on the Georgian side.
According to border activists who are keeping watch, the wait time to pass border control has increased to more than 48 hours.
Georgian border guards at Upper Lars allowed pedestrians to cross the border as hundreds of people appeared to have abandoned their cars and cabs and headed for the crossing as they struggled to deal with the gridlock of cars.
In one social media video, dozens of young men could be seen cycling, hiking with one backpack, rolling suitcases, and walking on the sides of parked cars in front of the towering Caucasus mountains.
An official call for the exit ban was made for the first time on Monday by Crimean lawmaker Sergei Tskekov, who argued that all men with a fighting edge should be prohibited from leaving the country.
There is no need to worry about the exodus, according to Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of Russia’s election commission. She commanded, “Let the rats that are running run.” The ship will belong to us because it is getting stronger and clearly headed in the right direction.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry insisted that any restrictions on people’s freedom of movement are not necessary for a partial mobilization. No limitations are “envisioned,” it stated.