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in the US they point to Russia for the leaks in Nord Stream

by archyde

‘No one knows what’s going to happen’: CNN speaks to Russians trying to cross the border amid fear of call-up

People walk past their cars queuing to cross the border into Kazakhstan from Russia at the Mariinsky border crossing on September 27. (Photo: AP)

Carrying a bag in each hand and another on his back, Denis walks up a hill, having crossed the border from Russia to Georgia.

“I’m just tired. That’s all I feel,” the 27-year-old says as he tries to catch his breath.

Denis has just spent six days on the road, most of them waiting in line to cross the border. He is one of hundreds of thousands of Russians who endure a grueling marathon journey to leave their country.

Although there are women and children among those who cross, most are men of fighting age who fear the possibility of being recruited to fight in the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. According to the Georgian Ministry of the Interior, at least 10,000 people a day pass through the Lars border crossing.

Denis, who did not want to reveal his last name, said he decided to leave due to uncertainty following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week of a “partial mobilization” of citizens, even though he had previously insisted that the military assault would only be fought by professional military men. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the army will recruit some 300,000 men with previous military experience to go fight in Ukraine.

Although the current draft shouldn’t apply to him, Denis fears that could change.

“How do I know what will happen in three years? How can I know how long this will last?” he said.

“It’s uncertain, and nobody knows what will come next,” he told CNN.

His sentiment is shared by many who cross the border into Georgia. They are teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, lawyers and builders: ordinary Russians who have no desire for war. And although they say they disagree with the government, they believe there is nothing they can do to force Putin to change course.

Instead, they have chosen to leave their country, despite the dangerous journey. Denis said he spent days in his car without sufficient access to food and toilets.

“When you’re there waiting, there are no bathrooms. You can’t get much to eat because everything sells out instantly and no one packed much food either because no one expected it to take that long,” he said.

Another man CNN spoke with walked 12 miles (20 kilometers) to get to Georgia, also fueled by concerns that the draft might expand.

“It doesn’t apply to me today, but it may apply tomorrow,” the individual said, speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity because he fears Moscow’s long-reaching hand.

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