Man surfs out of Russia to avoid mobilization
A Russian man has reportedly found a novel way to flee possible military service in the Ukraine conflict, surfing across the Narva River to Estonia. The scheme failed, though, as he was captured a few hours later and deported back to Russia.
The unidentified 38-year-old man crossed the border near the mouth of the river on a stand-up paddleboard at about 1 a.m. on Monday, according to Estonian public broadcaster ERR. Estonian border guards in Narva-Joesuu sent out several patrols, including a canine unit, and found the illegal border crosser at a bus stop around 4:30 a.m.
The man was taken to a border checkpoint for an administrative proceeding, after which he was fined and sent back to Russia. He told the Estonian authorities that he crossed over the border because of the partial military mobilization order that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week.
Estonia’s government has boosted border security since Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine in February. Eerik Purgel, who heads border and migration control in Estonia’s Ida Prefecture, told ERR that the country hasn’t seen an increase in migration pressure. “We are closely monitoring the situation, and if necessary, we’ll send additional forces to the border,” he said.
Narva-Joesuu sits in Estonia’s far northeastern corner, where the Narva River flows into the Gulf of Finland. Estonia stopped issuing visas to Russian tourists in August and joined with fellow Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania earlier this month in restricting entry by Russian citizens who obtained visas in other Schengen Area countries.