Russian authorities on Saturday admitted a “significant” influx of cars seeking to head to Georgia, in a full mobilization to fight in Ukraine, where about 2,300 vehicles were counted at one border point.
“There is a large backlog of special vehicles, about 2,300 in total, which have arrived in the Republic of North Ossetia and are lining up to cross the Verkhny Lars checkpoint,” the ministry said. The interior of this Russian republic bordering Georgia.
Because of this influx, the ministry added, “it is difficult to clear customs,” which calls on Russians not to seek to leave the country.
The ministry did not specify by what percentage the number of vehicles accumulated at the border was higher than the usual situation, but it announced the deployment of additional police officers to “ensure road safety.”
The influx comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree this week mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Russians to go and fight in Ukraine.
The move sparked a rush on airline websites, with many Russians fearing they would be called up at the front.
While the Russians also fear the borders may soon be closed, land crossing points have also been stormed.
In addition to Georgia, the borders with Kazakhstan and Mongolia have also recorded an influx since the mobilization was announced, with testimonies sometimes reporting several hours of waiting before being able to pass.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that reports of a “mass exodus” of Russians were “greatly exaggerated.”