(p. A12) A little more than 12 hours after he heard that Russian civilians could be pressed into military service in the Ukraine war, the tour guide said he bought a plane ticket and a laptop, changed money, wrapped up his business, kissed his crying mother goodbye and boarded a plane out of his country, with no idea when he might return.
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“I was sitting and thinking about what I could die for, and I didn’t see any reason to die for the country,” said the tour guide, 23, who, like others interviewed for this article, declined to give his name for fear of reprisals.
Since President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a new troop call-up, some Russian men who had once thought they were safe from the front lines have fled the country. And they have done so in a rush, lining up at the borders and paying rising prices to catch flights to countries that allow them to enter without visas, such as Armenia, Georgia, Montenegro and Turkey.
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In principle, European Union officials say they stand in solidarity with the men who don’t want to fight. “Russians are voting with their feet, basically, ” said Peter Stano, a spokesman for the European Commission.
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A 26-year-old merchant mariner who gave his name only as Dmitriy said he would wait in Turkey until his next ship job began in December , to ensure that he would not be drafted in the meantime.
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The mariner said that most of his friends had stayed in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, believing the war would not affect them much. He said most were rushing to get out.
“Lots of people want to leave Russia now because they don’t want to fight for the opinion of one person,” he said, dismissing the invasion as a personal project of Mr. Putin.
“It is not about defending your family,” he said.
For the full story, see:
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version has the date Sept. 22, 2022, and has the title “‘A Lot of Panic’: Russian Men, Fearing Ukraine Draft, Seek Refuge Abroad.”)