The number of Russian citizens entering the EU has risen 30 percent since Putin called for more troops.
Russian citizens have been fleeing to the European Union en masse since President Vladimir V. Putin announced last week that he would call up some 300,000 reservists into the army, the EU border agency Frontex said on Tuesday.
From September 19 to Sunday, nearly 66,000 Russian citizens entered the EU, 30 percent more than the previous week, the agency said in a statement. Most passed through Estonian and Finnish border crossings and have EU residence permits, visas or dual citizenship. In the last four days alone, 30,000 Russians have arrived in Finland.
The numbers confirm other reports of an exodus of Russians since Putin moved to expand the war through a draft.
Since Putin’s announcement, some young men who previously thought they would not have to fight now fear that the call-up will force them to be next in line. Tens of thousands of Russian citizens have rushed to leave the country, while others have taken to the streets to protest the mobilization, risking jail time in a country that has effectively banned criticizing the military.
In Georgia and Finland, border crossings have been clogged with cars. Satellite images on Sunday showed a long line of traffic near the Russia-Georgia border.
Some European countries have already imposed border restrictions with Russia, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which have closed their doors to most Russian citizens. Finland is considering similar measures.
Russia is also trying to clamp down on citizens trying to leave the country. On Tuesday, state media reported that men waiting to flee at the Georgia border were given calling papers.
Despite pressure from both sides of the border, Frontex predicted that border crossings would continue as long as there was “uncertainty” surrounding the mobilization effort. It also foresees an increase in border crossings and illegal stays in the EU