Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the mobilization of 300,000 men for service in Ukraine, something Axios says has resulted in “chaos” as potential draftees try and avoid being deployed to the war zone.
The Biden administration responded this week by announcing that such men can seek asylum in the United States. However, there is one important catch: their fate will be decided “on a case-by-case basis.”
Russians “may apply for asylum in the United States”
That position was made clear by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during an exchange with a reporter on Monday.
“As mobilization in Russia continues, thousands of Russian men [are trying] to leave the country,” a White House transcript quoted the journalist as saying.
“Is the U.S. willing to grant those Russian] men refugee status here in the U.S.?” the reporter went on, noting that some European countries are refusing to allow Russian men to enter.
Jean-Pierre replied that “anyone seeking refuge for persecution, regardless of their nationality, may apply for asylum in the United States and have their claim adjudicated, on a case-by-case basis.”
“We have been clear to distinguish between the actions of the Russian government and its armed forces in Ukraine and the Russian people, many of whom have spoken out against this unjust war,” she added.
“Why are we going to Ukraine?”
Mongolia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan are three countries that border Russia, and Fox News reported on Tuesday that all three have seen a massive influx of men wishing to avoid military conscription.
“About four to five days ago, there were five to six thousand visitors [from Russia] daily, and now it has increased to about ten thousand,” Georgia Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri was quoted as telling reporters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the network noted that a Russian man who fled to Mongolia told Reuters, “My country has started partial mobilization and I think it is negatively affecting society. We waited a very long time at the Russian side of the border: about 16 hours.”
Another Russian man told the news service, “There were a lot of young people, a lot of people trying to get away from Putin.”
“We are not afraid, but why do we have to fight in Ukraine, why? If other countries would attack Russia, we would fight for our country. But why are we going to Ukraine? For what?” the Russian citizen said.