Estonia ambassador: Queues at some Kazakh-Russian border points

Toomas Tirs
Toomas Tirs Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Queues have formed at several points on the Russian-Kazakh border although they are not so big that the authorities need to intervene, Estonia's Ambassador to Kazakhstan Toomas Tirs said, describing the situation after President Vladimir Putin announced military mobilization earlier this week.

"If we turn to the events of the last few days, which concern mobilization, then in two regions, Western Kazakhstan and Kostanay, there has been a large increase in the number of entries. And, according to this morning's information, four border points out of 30 are affected," Tirs said on Friday.

"Kazakhstan is a very big country, which is why it is difficult to go and see the border for yourself. And the border queue is, of course, on the Russian side not in Kazhakstan," the ambassador said, adding he had seen videos of the queue on Youtube and other social media websites.

The length of the queues is estimated to be between 5km and 15km. People are arriving in both passenger and private vehicles.

Tirs said there are no big problems at the borders and the authorities have not had to intervene. "All border points are current working — as they say in Russian — in normal mode," he told ERR.

The two countries have a visa-free policy which means Russians can easily enter Kazakhstan for 30 days. There have already been over 1.5 million people crossing the border this year, Tirs said.

Additionally, air connections are still in place between Russia and Kazakhstan, although they have been partially limited since February due to the impact of sanctions.

'For example, Kazakhstan's biggest airline Air Astana does not fly to Russia because they have such new planes that their insurance policies do not cover flying to Russia. Russian airlines do not fly their either with their own planes, which are sanctioned by the European Union because they are afraid Kazakhstan will hold them and hand them over to the rightful owner, who owns the aircraft," the diplomat said. "But budget airlines and Russian airlines are still flying."

Following the mobilization on Wednesday, thousands of Russian men fled to Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia to avoid being sent to Ukraine.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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