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Russia restricts access to Georgia amid call-up

September 28, 2022

Officials in a Russian region bordering Georgia say the restrictions came after 20,000 people crossed the border in two days. Russians have increasingly sought ways to avoid being drafted.

People at the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border
Huge queues of Russians have formed at the border with Georgia since Putin announced the partial mobilizationImage: picture alliance/dpa/TASS

The North Ossetia republic of Russia on Wednesday ordered restrictions on cars arriving from other parts of the country.

The restrictions come as tens of thousands of Russian men of military age seek to flee the country to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilization announcement. 

What is the North Ossetia car ban?

Sergey Menyaylo, the head of North Ossetia, ordered officials to "restrict the entry of cars" to the small mountainous republic and said the region had been placed on "high alert." 

Menyaylo said he introduced the ban after 20,000 people crossed the border into Georgia in only two days. 

Mass departures as Russians avoid call-up

"We will not be physically able to ensure order and security if this flow continues to grow," he said on Telegram.

Cars registered in North Ossetia are exempt from the ban, he said.

Why were Russians queuing on Georgia's border?

Since Putin announced a partial mobilization on September 21, tens of thousands of draft-age men have tried to leave Russia.

His order triggered panic across Russia, with flights out of the country selling out at skyrocketing prices and protests erupting in several cities.  

Georgia has been a popular destination for men seeking to flee as the country allows Russians to stay without a visa for a year. 

There are no direct flights between Russia and Georgia, which means that more people are trying to cross the land border. The Verkhny Lars checkpoint in North Ossetia is the only operational crossing point. 

fb/wd (AFP, Reuters)