In response to Vladimir Putin’s military draft, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday, Sep. 27, that the U.S. would “welcome” any Russian citizens who sought asylum.

Even though a large number of Russian citizens have poured into neighboring countries, Jean-Pierre still made this statement during a White House Press briefing. A journalist questioned Jean-Pierre about rumors that men of military age were crossing international borders or even hurting themselves to avoid being drafted.

“I know the White House has drawn a distinction between the Russian government and the people of Russia. Does the president have a message for some of these men who are desperately trying to flee the country?” one journalist queried.

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“We are seeing protests in the streets of Russia, we are seeing people sign petitions, and I think the message they are sending to us very clearly is that this war that Putin started … is unpopular,” Jean-Pierre responded. “There are people out there in Russia who do not want to fight Putin’s war or die for it.”

“We believe that, regardless of nationality, they may apply for asylum in the United States and have their claim adjudicated on a case-by-case basis,” she further said. “We welcome any folks who are seeking asylum, and they should do that.”

Last week, Putin issued an order to partially mobilise the Russian military, bringing in 300,000 reserve soldiers. This sparked huge concern about general conscription in light of the nation’s ongoing war on Ukraine.

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The majority of the exodus of Russian men in the military from the country has been concentrated in Mongolia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. According to Georgian officials, daily border crossings have nearly doubled in the past week.

Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri told reporters on Tuesday, Sep. 27 that “About four to five days ago, there were 5,000 to 6,000 visitors [from Russia] daily, and now it has increased to about 10,000.”

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The Mongolian government has steadfastly maintained its neutrality even though thousands of Russians have fled to Mongolia and its citizens have protested against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

 

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