The Kremlin on Thursday said reports of an exodus of draft-age men from Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilization were “exaggerated”.
Since President Putin announced a partial mobilization of the reservists on Wednesday, flights from Russia to nearby countries such as Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Serbia have been completely sold out for the next few days. Prolonged traffic jams have been reported on Russia’s borders with Georgia, Finland, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Speaking to reporters, Peskov said, “The information about the hype at airports and so on is very exaggerated… There is a lot of fake information about it. We must be very careful not to become a victim of misinformation in this matter.”
Peskov declined to deny Russian media reports that draft papers were handed to some anti-mobilization protesters arrested Wednesday night, saying “It’s not against the law.”
Rights group OVD-Info reported that over 1,300 people were arrested in 38 cities on Wednesday for protesting the mobilization decree.
Russian news site Mediazona reported that at least three men arrested in Moscow had received a summons to mobilize at police stations.
When asked whether the campaign in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “military special operation,” was still going according to plan despite the mobilization, Peskov said:
“The special operation has started to fulfill objectives in Ukraine. Now we are de facto facing the NATO bloc with all its logistical possibilities. This has led to this necessary step.”
However, he denied that the conflict in Ukraine could be described as a war and insisted on the description used by the Kremlin since it ordered troops into Ukraine on February 24.
Separately, former President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia could use tactical nuclear weapons to defend any newly annexed territories in Ukraine.
Mr Medvedev, chairman of the Moscow Security Council, said there was “no turning back” from referendums in Russian-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine announced on Wednesday by his successor Vladimir Putin, who made his own nuclear threats.
After Putin’s move, a showdown is looming at the United Nations today – while Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is meeting with his counterparts in the Security Council.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Moscow to get “just punishment” for its invasion and urged Russia to lose its UN veto – a power that has prevented the council from taking any meaningful action, despite its commitment met at least 20 times to discuss the war.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/kremlin-claims-reports-of-exodus-of-fighting-age-russian-men-are-exaggerated-as-medvedev-doubles-down-on-nuclear-threat-42009674.html The Kremlin claims reports of the exodus of Russian fighting-age men are exaggerated as Medvedev doubles down on the nuclear threat