Russian conscription prompts exodus by some men

HISTORY: Border traffic intensified overnight on Thursday as some Russian men rushed to the exits following President Vladimir Putin's call for partial mobilization and 300,000 reservists were drafted.
Video obtained by Reuters showed traffic on the border between Russia and Georgia on Wednesday evening.
For some like Ivan, the crossing took up to 12 hours.
“I think the Russian border guards let people through very slowly. For example, yesterday before midnight you could cross the border much faster. After midnight, either a lot of cars (at the border) arrived or they (border guards) started to work more slowly."
It was similar at the border with Finland.
A man named Nikita said he was afraid of being called up for war.
Asked why by a reporter, he said the mobilization was a big mistake for Russia, Europe and the Ukrainian people.
Putin's announcement on Wednesday raised fears that some military-age men would not be allowed to leave the country.
One-way airline ticket prices to the nearest overseas locations soared to over $5,000, with most completely sold out for the coming days.
Alex was one of the arrivals at Istanbul Airport.
"I didn't think the next step would be mobilization and I feel like not many Russians want to fight and want to be mobilized and join the army."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Russian citizens that war is now on their doorstep.
“Russia's decision to mobilize is an open admission that its professional army, prepared for decades to take someone else's [land], couldn't take it and collapsed. And now, because of the mobilization, for most Russian citizens, Russia's war on Ukraine isn't something on TV or the internet, it's something that has invaded every Russian home."
Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that reports of men leaving the country were simply exaggerated.
“The information about the hype around airports and the like is greatly exaggerated. It has been greatly exaggerated. There is a lot of fake information about it. We have to be very careful about this so as not to become a victim of misinformation on this matter.”
He also made it clear that Russia is still referring to the conflict as a "military special operation" rather than a war.

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