South Korea’s SEOUL Many Russians who had sailed to South Korea to avoid being drafted into the conflict in Ukraine were turned away at the border.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the “partial mobilization” of military reservists last month after having suffered military and territorial defeats in Ukraine, according to South Korean coast guard statistics, five boats carrying 23 persons have arrived in the country.
Russian men of fighting age have scurried to leave the country to avoid the draft after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that 300,000 reservists would be called up. Thousands have poured into nearby nations like Georgia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan as well as farther-flung locations like Turkey.
Although several flights were sold out and border crossings were halted due to heavy traffic, it appears that some Russians are now going to even greater lengths to dodge conscription.
All 23 Russian nationals had requested tourist visas, according to An Ho-young, a politician of South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party, who made the statement over the phone on Thursday.
However, he claimed that 21 had their requests for entry into South Korea rejected due to “insufficient documents and unclear objective.”
The two selected candidates had records of their prior residence in South Korea on file.
An stated that it was “urgent” for the government to come up with solutions to deal with a potential influx of men fleeing mobilization, “such as dedicated procedures for handling what could turn into a diplomatic and human rights issue.” As more people try to flee Russia, Korea is likely becoming an intermediate stopover, according to An.
Russian people can enter South Korea without a visa, but immigration officers have the authority to refuse, he said.
Ten Russian citizens were aboard a 17-ton sailboat that also entered South Korean waters, although it did not make a port.
On October 1, it was detected in the East Sea and asked permission to dock in Busan, according to An. He added that immigration officials denied the Russians entry into the nation because they lacked a verified reason for their trip.
Last Tuesday around 5 p.m., the boat finally arrived in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, north of Busan, and sailed out to sea once more with all of its passengers, according to An.
The coast guard reports that a 6-ton boat also arrived in South Korea on October 1. Again, the boat asked for permission to stop at the city of Sokcho so that six passengers might disembark.
On October 5, the ship instead set out for the port of Vladivostok in eastern Russia, but bad weather and choppy seas forced it to make a detour there before it could eventually leave South Korean waters on Tuesday.
One Russian boat, which a patrol boat detected at sea on Tuesday, is still docked in Pohang, according to the coast guard’s records, according to An. Entry was refused to all four passengers on board.
In a telephone interview on Friday, a representative of the South Korean Justice Ministry stated: “The Russian tourists went through a standard routine immigration process like everyone else, and those denied entry to South Korea were because they did not match the visa requirements and regulations.”
The spokesperson stated that those Russian visitors who were refused entry had not provided any type of entry visa. “Anyone wishing to enter South Korean territory must provide at least the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization), KETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorization), or other forms of visa,” the spokesperson said.