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26 Sep, 2022 11:00

Senator suggests banning military-age men from leaving Russia

The controversial proposal was described as unnecessary and “harmful” by fellow lawmakers.
Senator suggests banning military-age men from leaving Russia

A Russian lawmaker has said men eligible for military service should not be allowed to travel abroad while the partial mobilisation continues.

“Everyone whose age makes him subject to conscription should be banned from going abroad under the current circumstances,” Sergey Tsekov, a senator from Crimea, told RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

The member of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, said people with exemptions from military service should still be able to leave the country. He also suggested raising the penalties for draft-dodgers.

President Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilisation last Wednesday, calling it a necessary step to support the military operation against Ukraine. According to the Defense Ministry, only military reservists, preferably with combat experience, and not regular conscripts, are being recruited.

Tsekov’s proposals have been criticized by fellow lawmakers in both chambers of parliament. Senator Andrey Klishas responded by urging “all colleagues” to pay more attention to providing social benefits to mobilized Russians and ensuring that no violations are made in the process, rather than “pumping up tensions”.

Yevgeny Popov, a member of the State Duma, said calls for travel restrictions were “excessive” and “harmful”, since “our people have the right to move around as they please”.

He said some Russian regions have already reported mobilizing enough reservists to meet the Defense Ministry’s quota, and the rest of the country will soon catch up.

Since the mobilization was announced, a surge of people trying to leave Russia has been reported. Officials in North Ossetia, on the southern Russia border, reported on Monday that a queue of some 3,500 cars had formed at the border crossing with Georgia.

Several EU nations that share a land border with Russia had previously banned non-essential travel for Russian citizens, in what they claimed to be an attempt to put pressure on Moscow and protect themselves from unspecified Russian security threats. However, some EU officials have suggested that protecting Russian draft-dodgers from being mobilized would be a good policy.

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