66,000 Russians pour into EU amid military call-up

Deutsche Welle

Posted at Sep 28 2022 09:35 AM

Russian men walk along a road after passing through customs at the Georgia-Russia border checkpoint of Verkhnii Lars, Georgia, 27 September 2022. Thousands of Russian men left Russia after Russian President Putin announced in a televised address to the nation on 21 September, that he signed a decree on partial mobilization in the Russian Federation due to the conflict in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said that 300,000 people would be called up for service as part of the move. Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri said on 27 September, that in recent days some 10,000 Russians have crossed the border with Georgia every day. On 24 February 2022 Russian troops entered the Ukrainian territory in what the Russian president declared a 'Special Military Operation', starting an armed conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE
Russian men walk along a road after passing through customs at the Georgia-Russia border checkpoint of Verkhnii Lars, Georgia, 27 September 2022. Thousands of Russian men left Russia after Russian President Putin announced in a televised address to the nation on 21 September, that he signed a decree on partial mobilization in the Russian Federation due to the conflict in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said that 300,000 people would be called up for service as part of the move. Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri said on 27 September, that in recent days some 10,000 Russians have crossed the border with Georgia every day. On 24 February 2022 Russian troops entered the Ukrainian territory in what the Russian president declared a 'Special Military Operation', starting an armed conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

The European Union's Frontex border control agency said 66,000 Russians have entered the EU in the past week.

This represents a 30% increase compared with the previous week, according to the agency. It said that most of the crossings were occurring at the Finnish and Estonian sections of the border.

According to Frontex, most arrivals had visas, residence permits or dual citizenship.

Frontex predicted that illegal border crossings could increase if the Kremlin decides to close Russia's borders for potential conscripts.

Thousands of military-age men have been leaving Russia since President Vladimir Putin announced a "partial" mobilization last week.

Here's a roundup of other news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on September 27.

Pentagon: No change to US nuclear posture

The US does not have any reason to adjust its posture on nuclear weapons, Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder said.

"We obviously take these threats seriously. But, at this stage, we've not seen anything that would cause us to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time," he said.

Ryder stressed that the United States did not "have any reason to adjust our posture at this stage."

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Security Council chairman Dmitry Medvedev said the West would not risk a "nuclear apocalypse" by intervening directly in Ukraine. Last week, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would use "all means at [its] disposal" to protect territorial integrity, stressing that Russia has "various means of destruction."

US, NATO condemn 'referendums' in eastern Ukraine

The US and NATO condemned "referendums" in eastern Ukraine as voting concluded on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the West would "never recognize" the results of the vote, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called the referendums illegitimate."

Russian-installed officials reported large majorities of the occupied regions in favor of annexation.

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German opposition leader apologizes for Ukraine 'welfare tourism' comment

The leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union has received backlash for accusing Ukrainian refugees of "welfare tourism." In a TV interview on Monday night, Merz said Germany was "now experiencing welfare tourism among these refugees" and accused many of them of "taking advantage of the system" by going back and forth between Germany and Ukraine.

The following day, he was slammed by members of the center-left Social Democrats and the neoliberal Free Democrats.

"Far be it from me to criticize refugees from Ukraine, who are facing a hard fate," Merz said on Tuesday. "If my choice of words was perceived as hurtful, then I sincerely apologize."

Putin wants to 'save people' in Russian-occupied territories

Putin said on Tuesday that Russia wanted to "save people" in the four Ukrainian regions that are currently occupied by Russian troops

"Saving people in the territories where this referendum is taking place ... is the focus of the attention of our entire society and of the entire country," the president said during a televised meeting with officials.

German police search Russian oligarch's yacht

A Russian businessman's yacht has been searched by German police as part of a probe into money laundering, the Frankfurt Prosecutor General's Office said on Tuesday.

AFP news agency reported that it was the same suspect whose property was searched last week in Tegernsee, south of Munich, citing the spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.

The raids are believed to be linked with two separate ongoing investigations in Frankfurt and Munich.

The Frankfurt probe was launched after the publication of the so-called Panama Papers and involves allegations that the suspect made several transactions from 2017 to this year and concealed the origin of the payments.

The Munich probe deals with whether or not the suspect violated the Foreign Trade and Payments Act by allegedly paying guarding services for properties in Upper Bavaria, in violation of a ban on the disposal of frozen funds.

Russians arriving in Georgia double since mobilization — report

Around 10,000 Russians have been entering Georgia every day since President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilization for the war in Ukraine, news agency AFP reported, citing Georgia's interior minister.

"Four to five days ago 5,000-6,000 (Russians) were arriving in Georgia daily. The number has grown to some 10,000 per day," Georgia's Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri told journalists.

Georgian officials say that there are around 5,500 cars backed-up near the border.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the call-up order would involve 300,000 reservists or those with special military skill and combat experience.

However, there are multiple reports documenting how people with no prior military experience have been ordered to report at enlistment offices.

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Thousands of Russians have been trying to leave since last week's announcement of the partial mobilization.

Putin set to address Russian parliament on Friday after 'referendums' — UK

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to address both houses of the Russian parliament on Friday, according to the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence.

The latest intelligence update states there is a "realistic possibility" Putin will use the address to announce the accession of occupied regions in Ukraine.

The update goes on to say that in Russia, the "referendums" and "accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the 'special military operation' and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict."

Japan protests diplomat's detention

Japan on Tuesday demanded an apology from Russia for the detention of one of its diplomats for alleged espionage.

The Japanese official was based in the eastern city of Vladivostok and was detained and interrogated on September 22.

"The official was blindfolded, with pressure applied to both his hands and head so he was unable to move while being detained, and then he was questioned in an overbearing way," government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

Matsuno said that Japan "strongly protests these unbelievable acts," and denied the espionage allegations.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) claims that a Japanese diplomat was detained while receiving classified information, in exchange for money.

On Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry informed Japan's Embassy in Moscow that the official had been declared "persona non grata," or an undesirable person and ordered him to leave within 48 hours.

kb,sdi/dj,wd (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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