A video being widely circulated on social media shows the friend of a Russian reservist attempting to break his friend’s arm with a sledgehammer so he cannot be sent to the front lines in Ukraine.
The clip shows a man raising a sledgehammer and smashing it down onto the arm of the conscripted Russian as he holds it on a wooden bench and covers his face with his other hand.
The draftee then walks away from the bench in a seemingly dazed state, swearing while his limp arm hangs by his side.
Running out of shot, the friend can then be heard asking: “Kolyan, is everything all right? F***, yeah?,” to which a female voice interjects, inspecting the man’s arm and asking: “Was it hard? Did he fail to break your arm?”
It has not been verified if the arm was indeed broken or if the man in question managed to evade conscription – but the incident is an example of the stark reality facing many Russians who want to dodge the draft.
Last week, President Putin announced that Moscow would call up 300,000 reservists to be forcibly sent to fight in Russia’s ongoing illegal invasion of Ukraine, leading to thousands of citizens flocking to borders or taking more drastic measures to flee the country.
Since Putin’s mobilization announcement, queues of cars stretching for miles have built up on the borders to neighbouring nations, particularly on the Russia-Georgia and Russia-Kazakhstan borders, where thousands of Russians are attempting to leave to in vehicles, bicycles, or on foot.
The Georgian Interior Ministry has confirmed a dramatic rise in Russian citizens arriving in Georgia each day, saying in a statement: “The number has increased to some 10,000 a day.” This figure, they stated, was compared to “5,000 to 6,000” arrivals per day shortly before the Kremlin announcement on Sep. 21.
The exodus of Russian citizens attempting to dodge Russia’s first conscription order since World War Two has also now led to Moscow planning to open an army enlistment centre on the border with Georgia.
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