Estonia will not allow Russians fleeing mobilization to cross border

Border marker in southeastern Estonia. May 10, 2022.
Border marker in southeastern Estonia. May 10, 2022. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

Estonia does not intend to allow Russian citizens, who want to leave Russia to avoid being drafted into the army to enter the country.

"The Russian call for mobilization or the unwillingness to be mobilized or fulfill any other civic duty in Russia is not a valid reason to enter Estonia. Opening the Estonian and European borders to tens, or perhaps hundreds, of thousands of strong and capable men is a very real security threat, which we cannot allow," Veiko Kommusaar, deputy secretary general for internal security at the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs, told ERR on Monday.

Russian politician and lawyer Lyubov Sobol, who also produces YouTube channel "Navalny Live," has urged Russians living abroad to appeal to the authorities in the countries they are currently in, to accept those fleeing Russia due to the war. Sobol advised Russians to write to MPs in the countries in which they now reside, to ask about the possibilities of those fleeing Russia to be able to obtain humanitarian visas allowing them to stay there, or to transit to another country.

"From a humanitarian perspective, the question is understandable, and one can understand that many people have no desire to go to war for Putin. However, from our point of view, fleeing to Estonia is in no way. We believe that there are other ways to resist both mobilization and Putin," Kommusaar said.

Kommusaar explained, that on September 19 last year, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland all introduced entry restrictions for Russian citizens holding Schengen visas. Finland later followed suit.

"Russian citizens with Schengen visas will not be allowed to enter Estonia, unless it is for humanitarian reasons or to visit close relatives living in Estonia," Kommusaar said. "Humanitarian considerations do not include using existing Schengen visas to flee mobilization. Russian citizens can apply for international protection in Estonia. However, fleeing mobilization is not considered a valid reason for protection (status). Each application will be considered individually," he added.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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