Russia’s economy could take a hit as hundreds of thousands of its male working force have fled the country following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conscription order, the U.K. defense ministry said Thursday.
“In the seven days since President Putin announced the ‘partial mobilization’ there has been a considerable exodus of Russians seeking to evade call-up,” the ministry said in a daily update. “Whilst exact numbers are unclear, it likely exceeds the size of the total invasion force Russia fielded in February 2022.”
AMERICANS SHOULD FLEE RUSSIA IMMEDIATELY, COULD BE CONSCRIPTED, US EMBASSY URGES
Russia amassed over 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s border at the onslaught of Putin’s invasion that he has dubbed a “special military operation.”
It is unclear how many Russian troops have deployed to Ukraine after seven months of brutal warfare, though Putin has looked to double the number of boots on the ground that made up his original invading force.
Last week, Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War II and said Moscow would be calling up some 300,000 more conscripts for battle.
The exodus of fighting age men fleeing Russia has flooded borders and packed airports.
RUSSIA’S BORDERS SEE DESPERATION AS DRAFT-ELIGIBLE MEN FLEE
Some reporting has suggested that as many as 261,000 Russians, largely “better off” and well-educated men, have fled the country.
Defense officials now believe the massive exodus could spell trouble for Russia’s work force and in turn, its economy.
“When combined with those reservists who are being mobilized, the domestic economic impact of reduced availability of labor and the acceleration of ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant,” the U.K. defense ministry said Thursday.
The White House has said it will take Russian refugees fleeing Putin’s order as neighboring nations like Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia see flocks of men continuing to arrive.
Moscow has not yet shut its borders to those fleeing.
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