Two Russians fleeing Ukraine military service land in Alaska, seek asylum in US

Two Russians fleeing Ukraine military service land in Alaska, seek asylum in US
The two Russians, who fled the country in a bid to flee mandatory military service for Russia's war on Ukraine, left by boat and were found near an Alaskan city 64 kilometres away from the Russian coast.
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President Putin's mobilisation of Russians to fight in Ukraine has prompted scores of Russian men to flee or escape [Getty]

Two Russians fleeing military service have claimed asylum in the United States after arriving by boat in Alaska, authorities said on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month announced a partial military mobilisation for Moscow's war in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of men have fled abroad to avoid being signed up.

The office of Senator Lisa Murkowski, who represents Alaska, said the two Russians claimed to be seeking asylum to avoid compulsory military service. They were found near an Alaskan city about 40 miles (64 km) from the Russian coast.

Putin's mobilisation drive has proved one of Moscow's most unpopular moves, triggering protests in cities and regions across the country. Russia's invasion of Ukraine that started on February 24 has begun to unravel after a Ukrainian counteroffensive regained thousands of square miles (km) of territory in the past month.

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Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said the two individuals came over from Russia in a boat and were being questioned.

"We don't anticipate a continual stream of individuals or a flotilla of individuals. We have no indication that's going to happen, so this may be a one-off," Dunleavy said in a statement.

Senator Dan Sullivan, who also represents Alaska, said Customs and Border Protection officials were assessing the case, which showed that "the Russian people don't want to fight Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine".

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the two individuals arrived on Tuesday.

"The individuals were transported to Anchorage for inspection, which includes a screening and vetting process, and then subsequently processed in accordance with applicable US immigration laws," a department spokesperson said.