As criticism grows louder over Russia’s mobilization efforts in various cities, the Kremlin has said there is no decision yet on imposing martial law to seal the country’s borders to stop military-aged men trying to flee the country.
Asked by reporters if Moscow was considering a decision to shut its border, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, “I don’t know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this.”
Commenting on news circulating on social media that the country was also considering a “transport mobilization,” the Kremlin spokesman said, no such decision was made and said such “leaks” and “rumors” should be treated with utmost caution and that “nothing of the kind has been declared.”
“One should be very cautious about all such lists, all such leaks… Our adversaries and our enemies keep launching such rumors. Some hysterical people at home do that, too. One should be very, very cautious,” the Kremlin spokesman added.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entering its seventh month and with Ukrainian forces reporting major successes on the battlefront, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced in a televised address that he had signed a decree for a partial military mobilization, starting immediately while vowing to use “all means necessary” to achieve Moscow’s aims against Ukraine and the West.
However, ever since the announcement was made, mobilization centers and streets are witnessing chaotic scenes, with reports saying tens of thousands of conscription-age Russian men have fled to neighboring countries in recent days amid growing fears that the Kremlin is likely to impose an exit ban in an attempt to retain manpower reserves. Media reports speak of flights out of Russia having sold out and cars piling up at border checkpoints. Meanwhile, Moscow says that these reports are exaggerated.
Although Putin’s partial mobilization decree is vague, the country’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the country was looking to mobilize around 300,000 reservists to “hold the line at the front” in Ukraine.
After announcing the decree, Putin addressed a gala concert to mark the 1160th anniversary of Russian statehood. At the concert, he played up the culture card and said Russia was fighting for its independence and sovereignty.
The Russian president also made a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons. “I’d like to remind you [West] that our country has various [weapons] of destruction more advanced than NATO countries.”