December 8, 2022

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Two Russians sailed to Alaska to seek asylum in the United States: to escape Putin’s mobilization for Ukraine

They got on a boat and jumped into the sea. There is no more time to waste. They arrived on a small island in Alaska that is closer to their native Russia than Alaska itself. There they sought asylum in the United States, hoping to be able to escape the partial mobilization desired by President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands upon thousands of Russians have fled abroad since September 21, the day the Kremlin chief announced partial mobilization to confront the war in Ukraine. Moscow denied, but according to a report by Forbes Russia, the number will be about 700,000 people, who fled overland to neighboring Kazakhstan, Georgia and Finland, as well as other European countries, and now arrive in Alaska, by boat. , for the first time.

The two Russian citizens landed on St. Lawrence Island due to the disbelief of the residents of Gambil, a village of less than 500, who told of their adventure: they fled Egvikenut, in northeastern Russia, and traveled to Alaska, about 300 miles by sea. The Department of Homeland Security immediately said they landed on a small boat on Tuesday. After landing at Gambell, the two were flown to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, for necessary checks. US authorities said their asylum applications are currently under review.

This is the first time since the start of the war that Alaska has faced a similar problem: Gambil is located on the northwest cape of Saint Lawrence Island, about 36 miles (56 km) from Russia’s Chukchi Peninsula, which means it’s closer to Russia. From mainland Alaska. According to local media, residents of Gamble can see the Russian Siberian territory across the sea.

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“We were surprised by their arrival,” Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy admitted. However, don’t expect a steady stream. He added that there are no indications to this effect, this could be a “one-off.” On the other hand, Senator Dan Sullivan does not rule out newcomers: Federal authorities should have “a plan ready in case other Russians decide to cross the Bering Strait and reach Alaska.” The incident “clearly shows two things: the first is that the Russians do not want to go to Putin’s war against Ukraine. The second is that Alaska, due to its proximity to Russia, plays a critical role in the national security of the United States. It was echoed by Senator Lisa Murkowski, who said the incident highlights “the need for greater security in the American Arctic.”