Russian men sail 300 miles to remote island in Alaska to escape Putin's draft

7 October 2022, 14:05

Two Russian men have sailed 300 miles across rough seas in the Bering Strait to escape Vladimir Putin's conscription draft.
Two Russian men have sailed 300 miles across rough seas in the Bering Strait to escape Vladimir Putin's conscription draft. Picture: Getty

By Cameron Kerr

Two Russian men have sailed 300 miles through rough waters on a small boat to escape Putin's war draft and claim asylum in Alaska.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The pair immediately applied for refuge in the US state upon landing on a remote Alaskan island in the Bering Sea.

A spokesperson for Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski's office said: "The Russian nationals reported that they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service."

Citing a Kremlin source, a Forbes Russia report this week claimed as many as 700,000 men may have left the country since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial troop mobilisation on September 21.

Most of the men have fled over land to neighbouring countries including Kazakhstan, Georgia and Finland. However the arrival of the two men in Alaska is an unusual first.

The two men applied for refuge in the US state upon landing their boat at a beach on a remote Alaskan island.
The two men applied for refuge in the US state upon landing their boat at a beach on a remote Alaskan island. Picture: Getty

Republican senator Ms Murkowski said then men had landed at a beach near the town of Gambell - an isolated community on St Lawrence Island home to just 600 people. Alaska's other senator, Dan Sullivan, said he was alerted to the matter by a "senior community leader from the Bering Strait region" on the morning of Tuesday 4 October.

Gambell is roughly 200 miles southwest of the western Alaska hub community of Nome, and about 36 miles from the Chukotaka Peninsula, Siberia - according to a community profile on a state website.

Mr Sullivan has encouraged federal authorities to have a plan in place in a statement, in case "more Russians flee to Bering Strait communities in Alaska":

"This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don't want to fight Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine," Mr Sullivan said.

"Second, given Alaska's proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America's national security."

A Forbes Russia report claimed this week that as many as 700,000 men may have left the country since Vladimir Putin announced a new conscription draft.
A Forbes Russia report claimed this week that as many as 700,000 men may have left the country since Vladimir Putin announced a new conscription draft. Picture: Getty

Ms Murkowski said the situation underscored "the need for a stronger security posture in America's Arctic."

The state's Governor, Mike Dunleavy, said he did not expect a continual stream or "floatilla" of individuals traversing the same route, also warning of a fall storm packing strong winds that could make travel in the region dangerous.

Read more: Brit father who left his family for Ukranian refugee reunites with children after judge lifts restraining order

Read more: Shocking footage shows moment fearless bystanders grapple with phone muggers in Bishopsgate

The route the men have taken to get to the US appears to be unusual, with most Russians more commonly attempting to enter the US through Mexico.

Russians typically fly from Moscow to Cancun or Mexico City, entering Mexico as tourists before getting a connecting flight to the US border.

Earlier this year, US authorities contended with a spate of Russians who hoped to claim asylum if they reached an inspection booth at an official crossing.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

Sir Ed Davey has been criticised for his time as Post Office minister

Ed Davey says sorry for taking five months to meet Alan Bates and says ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells ‘fed me lies’

The original Bacchus by Giambologna sits in the Bargello museum in Florence

Former Italian cultural minister defends woman who simulated sex with beloved Florence statue

Formal talkjs will begin next week in a bid to end long-running junior doctors strike

Government to begin formal talks with junior doctors to end long-running pay row

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's mum appeals for funeral donations to give son the 'send-off he deserves'

File photo dated 26/07/23 of Andrew Malkinson. The Criminal Cases Review Commission has offered an 'unreserved apology' for failing Malkinson, who spent 17 years in prison for being wrongly convicted of rape. Issue date: Thursday April 18, 2024.

Wrongly imprisoned Andrew Malkinson 'could have been freed a decade earlier', watchdog finds

Taylor Swift plays to 60,000 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Police arrest suspected Taylor Swift stalker moments before concert kicks off

Pret A Manger has overhauled its coffee subscription plan

Fury as Pret scraps 'too good to be true' £30-a-month coffee subscription in favour of new scheme

Di Prima has been axed from Strictly Come Dancing amid the allegations against him.

Axed Strictly star Graziano Di Prima returns to £6 an hour job amid allegations he 'hit and kicked' dance partner Zara McDermott

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

The government 'failed its citizens', the Covid Inquiry has found

Government ‘failed its citizens’, Covid Inquiry finds as ‘major overhaul’ of emergency planning needed

Keir Starmer has been welcoming EU leaders at the European Political Community summit in Oxfordshire

Starmer warns ‘criminal empire is at work’ as he urges European leaders to tackle people smuggling ‘crisis’

Both of them received community orders

Two asylum seekers who stole £25k gold Rolex in London's Soho allowed to walk free

It doesn't have to be that warm for your sleep to be affected

Revealed: the temperature that means you may not be sleeping well as UK gripped by heatwave

Trump gunman researched Royal family member during planning for assassination attempt

Trump gunman researched Royal family member during planning for assassination attempt

US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden ‘more receptive to standing down after senior Democrats turn on President’ as he battles Covid