Less than two weeks ago, Russians began flocking across borders after Vladimir Putin announced the call-up of 300,000 reservists. Many didn’t want to fight in a war that they condemned, and many other men of fighting age (who didn’t receive draft papers yet) feared that the draft would grow, and they needed to get out while the getting was good. We’d heard that the numbers were huge, but they’re even bigger than imagined, to the point where the number of Russians who have fled already exceeds the number that Putin’s regime managed to conscript for military duty.
As it turns out, men don’t want to be stranded with Putin’s army in Ukraine. That’s practically a death sentence where men are being denied armor and told to bring tampons to treat their own bullet wounds when the inevitable happens. Via Al Jazeera, the “partial mobilization” announcement led to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declaring, “As of today more than 200,000 people have entered the army.” And via Bloomberg, the number of Russians who have (thus far) fled to neighboring questions dwarfs the number of actual recruits into the Army. Here’s what those numbers look like, according to Bloomberg’s data:
– 200,000 to Kazakhstan
– 69,000 to Georgia
– 66,000 to the European Union
– 12,000 to Mongolia
– And counting
As these numbers came together, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy declared that his country has no interest in “peace talks” with the Kremlin. And it’s no wonder why this is the case, given that Russia may have been able to annex four rural regions of Ukraine, but the cities aren’t really yielding to Russian forces. In fact, Russia was recently forced out of Lyman (an Eastern stronghold), and this week, Ukraine made a Southern advance that bolsters the claim that Russia will never be able to take Kiev. It’s no wonder that Putin’s allies are starting to to drag him, very publicly in front of the world.