Two Russians seek asylum in US after arriving on remote Alaskan island

Two Russians who said they fled the country to avoid military service after landing in a small boat on a remote Alaskan island in the Bering Sea have applied for asylum in the United States, US Senator Lisa Markow said. Ski’s office said Thursday.

Karina Borger, a spokesperson for the Alaska Republican Senate, said in an email that her office has been in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, saying that “a Russian national fled one of the eastern coastal communities. reported .Russian coast to avoid compulsory military service.”

Thousands of Russian men have fled since President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization to reinforce Russian forces in Ukraine. Putin said the move aims to bring in about 300,000 men who have served in the military in the past, but many Russians fear it will become more widespread.

A U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection spokesperson referred reporters’ questions to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs, but was provided little information on Thursday. In a statement, the office said the people were “transferred to Anchorage for testing, including a screening and scrutiny process, and then processed in accordance with applicable U.S. immigration law under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

The two Russians arrived in a small boat on Tuesday, the agency said. It was not immediately clear what kind of ship they were on.

Alaska state senators Republican Markowski and Dan Sullivan said on Thursday that two Russians were on a beach near the town of Gumbel, an isolated Alaska Native community of about 600 people on St. Lawrence Island. said to have landed on Sullivan said Tuesday morning he was alerted to the issue by “senior community leaders in the Bering Strait region.”

According to community profiles on the state’s website, Gambel is about 200 miles (320 km) from the hub community of Nome in western Alaska and about 36 miles (58 km) from Siberia’s Chukchi Peninsula. The 100-mile (161-kilometer) long outlying island includes Sabonga, a community of about 800 people, serviced by regional airlines. Residents rely heavily on a subsistence lifestyle, harvesting from sea fish, whales, and other marine life.

A person who responded to the email address registered with Gambell sent questions to federal authorities. A message was also sent to the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco for comment.

In a statement, Sullivan said he encouraged federal officials to make plans in case “more Russians flee to the Bering Strait region of Alaska.”

“This incident makes two things clear. First, the Russian people do not want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Sullivan said. “Second, given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, our state plays an important role in ensuring America’s national security.”

Murkowski said the situation underscores “the need for a stronger US security posture in the Arctic”.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday that he did not expect the constant stream or “herds” of people crossing the same route to continue when the first details of the situation emerged. He also warned that travel to the area could be dangerous as autumn storms with strong winds are expected.

It is rare for people to take this route when trying to enter the United States.

U.S. authorities blocked 42 undocumented Russians from entering the U.S. from Canada in August. This is up from his 15 in July 2021 and his 9 in August.

Russians usually try to enter the United States via Mexico, which does not require a visa. Russians typically fly from Moscow to Cancun or Mexico City, enter Mexico as a tourist, and then board a connecting flight to the US border. Earlier this year, U.S. officials battled a series of Russians who hoped to claim asylum if they arrived at an inspection booth at an official checkpoint.

Some attribute this surge to the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year, which followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two Russians seek asylum in US after arriving on remote Alaskan island

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