A Russian conscript who refused to go to war in Ukraine described a grueling four-day escape with like-minded young draft evaders that stretched thousands of miles.
Eboshi’s exile, 21, was set in motion when he received a draft electronic subpoena last week, he told Business Insider Sunday under a pseudonym.
On September 21, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that 300,000 troops would be drafted to fight his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine amid a series of embarrassing Russian tactical losses to his outnumbered opponent.
Eboshi, whose parents are Ukrainians, immediately decided it was time to flee Russia, he told the outlet from an unknown border nation.
On Sept. 21, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that 300,000 men would be drafted to fight in his invasion of Ukraine, AP
“I am ethnic Ukrainian. I cannot go to war against a country where my family lives,” he said.
Armed only with a backpack, Eboshi embarked on a 1,800-mile train journey from Siberia to Moscow last Sunday, the report said — a train he said was jammed with other young men who also appeared to be fleeing Russia .
A group of young Russians walk along the Verkhny Lars border crossing between Georgia and Russia. AP
A Russian recruit and his wife kiss and hug outside a military recruitment center in Volgograd, Russia. AP
Russian recruits walk past a military recruitment center in Volgograd. AP
Russians are trying to leave their country to avoid military conscription to the war between Russia and Ukraine. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
“It was so hard leaving all my belongings and loved ones in my home country and going into the unknown with my backpack,” he told the outlet via a messaging app.
From Moscow, Eboshi made his way to a neighboring country, risking a 10-year sentence for defying the military. European Union countries had closed their borders with Russia, but Kazakhstan and Georgia continued to welcome visa-free visitors from the country.
The young man had loose plans to leave his unknown whereabouts and travel to Vietnam or Thailand.
“I’m just scared for my life,” Eboshi said. “I’m worried that I might not be able to return to my country in the next few years and if I can’t go back, it will be really bad here.”
A military vehicle drives down a street where a billboard reads “With Russia forever, September 27” in Luhansk.AP
Lines have formed at the Kazbegi border crossing as Russians try to flee their country to avoid a military call. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Russians fleeing conscription risk 10 years in prison.Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Eboshi suffers from a chronic skin condition that was supposed to keep him from fighting on medical grounds, but as Moscow continued to move the goalposts – reportedly calling up elderly, sick and unfit men – the fugitive said he couldn’t afford to take the risk.
“I have collected documents hoping to prove that I have an illness that would result in my not being drafted,” he told the outlet. “But in today’s reality, they most likely wouldn’t pay any attention to it. Standards have been lowered dramatically.”
Russia last week annexed four eastern Ukrainian provinces as it ramped up the war effort, citing the results of a sham election the United Nations had ruled illegal.
The whole conflict had deeply unsettled the young draft evader.
“This is a terrible mistake,” Eboshi said of the war. “Neighboring nations are killing each other over an old idiot.”
“I don’t know how long I will be away from Russia, but it will take time for Russia to end this senseless and terrible war that people don’t want.”