Moscow says will not seek extradition of Russians fleeing draft

MOSCOW (AFP): Moscow said Tuesday it will not request the extradition of Russians traveling abroad to avoid being called-up to fight in Ukraine, after thousands of military-aged men crossed into neighboring countries.

“The Russian ministry of defense has not sent any request to the authorities of Kazakhstan, Georgia, or any other country for the alleged forced return to Russian soil of Russian citizens, and it is not planning to do so,” the ministry said in a statement.

Neighbouring countries have seen Russians arriving en masse since the draft was announced last Wednesday, with hours-long queues at border crossings.

On Tuesday, Central Asian nation Kazakhstan said around 98,000 Russians entered the country since Wednesday.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev vowed to protect the safety and welfare of Russians fleeing a “hopeless situation” on Tuesday.

Russians have also headed to the neighboring Black Sea nation of Georgia, which saw the number of Russians arriving daily nearly double since the mobilization announcement.

On Tuesday the local interior ministry in a Russian region that borders Georgia said the situation at the border was “extremely tense.”

The ministry added that a mobile mobilization office will be set up at the border in the “near future.”