Russian citizens fleeing the country to avoid being drafted into Putin’s war against Ukraine should seek asylum in the United States, the White House said Tuesday.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her regular briefing that the response inside Russia to the so-called “partial mobilization” ordered last week by the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, shows that “this war initiated by the Kremlin is unpopular.”
“Regardless of their nationality, [individuals] can apply for asylum in the United States and have their applications adjudicated on a case-by-case basis,” Jean-Pierre added. “We welcome anyone seeking asylum and they should.
“What we are seeing in Russia is that the people of Russia are saying that they don’t want this war, that they don’t support Putin’s war,” she continued.
The military call, in which the Kremlin seeks to recruit some 300,000 men for fighting in Ukraine, has sparked protests, violence and thousands of Russians fleeing and crowding Russia’s borders.
In addition, airline tickets to the few countries that still accept direct flights from Russia have been sold out for several days, whose passengers want to avoid enlisting in Putin’s army.
In Russia’s southern province of Dagestan over the weekend, a group of women anti-war protesters shouted “no to war” as they chased down police officers and demanded the release of other anti-war protesters. War Protests continued in Dagestan on Monday and included frequent clashes with police.
In Ryazan, 100 miles southeast of Moscow, a man set himself on fire Monday while shouting that he did not want to go to war.
The government of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that shares a large southern border with Russia, said on Tuesday that an estimated 98,000 Russians had arrived in the country in the week since the mobilization was announced.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said his government would not send Russians who had been drafted into the army back across the border.