This is the craziest desertion recorded so far. Two Russians arrived by sea in Alaska on Tuesday and claim asylum in the United States, several officials from this Arctic region very close to Russia confirmed on Thursday, a few weeks after the “partial mobilization” ordered by Vladimir Putin to continue the war in Ukraine.
“Two Russian citizens arrived on a beach near Gambell”, a village on the American island of St. Lawrence, located in the Bering Sea, about 65 kilometers from the Russian coast, announced Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan in a joint statement. These two people “have applied for asylum in the United States”, according to the press release.
“A small boat manned by two Russian citizens arrived on the shores of rural Alaska” on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security confirmed. The case of these two Russians is being examined “in accordance with applicable American immigration laws”, he said.
About 300,000 Russian reservists affected
This incident shows that “the Russian people do not want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said Senator Dan Sullivan, quoted in the press release. The elected Republican encouraged the federal authorities “to have a plan ready with the Coast Guard, in case more Russians flee to the Bering Strait communities in Alaska”.
“We are in contact with federal officials and the residents of Gambell to determine who these individuals are,” added Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. For her, “this situation underscores the need for a stronger security posture in the American Arctic”.
In mid-September, Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization to reinforce his troops in Ukraine, which concerns around 300,000 reservists. This announcement led in the following days to a rush on the websites of airlines to try to leave Russia as soon as possible.
In Europe, the possible reception of Russian deserters has become a political subject in recent weeks between the various members of the Union. As discontent mounts in Russia in the face of an often chaotic mobilization, the Russian president acknowledged at the end of September “errors to be corrected”, asking to “bring home those who have been summoned without appropriate reason”.