Approximately 100,000 Russians have entered Kazakhstan in the last week, according to the government minister
Around 100,000 Russians have entered neighboring Kazakhstan in the past week, according to a senior official in the country’s government.
Of the 100,000 Russians who have entered Kazakhstan, more than 64,000 have already left the country, Marat Kozheyev, the Kazakh Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, said on Wednesday.
He did not say where they were going.
“This week no crime or misdemeanor involving Russian citizens has been recorded,” he added, according to the state-run Kazinform news agency.
“Most of them are law-abiding citizens and have enough money to live here. In case (of) they violate immigration law, they will be deported. If they commit a crime, they will be brought to justice,” he said.
The Kremlin has faced an exodus of citizens fleeing Russia in recent days, amid domestic backlash against President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a military escalation last week.
Moscow’s strategy of drafting 300,000 reservists into the Ukraine war has sparked protests against the mobilization and growing resistance against the invasion, with men of military age leaving the country before risking conscription.
Russian citizens do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan – with which Russia shares a 7,000-kilometre border in the south – and can stay visa-free for up to 30 days.
Four of the five EU countries bordering Russia have banned entry to Russians on tourist visas, while queues to cross Russia’s land borders into former Soviet countries Kazakhstan, Georgia and Armenia were reportedly slow. more than 24 hours.
CNN’s Josh Pennington, Jessie Yeung, Katharina Krebs, Radina Gigova, Simone McCarthy and Sana Noor Haq have contributed reporting.