Russians who escaped from mobilization live at Seoul airport for several months

Vladimir Maraktaev has been living at the airport in South Korea for several months. After the announcement of mobilization in Russia, he, like hundreds of thousands of other Russians, urgently left the country. Hiding from the draft, he crossed the borders of three countries, spending almost all his savings on the road. This is written by The Korea Times.

Together with Maraktaev Four more Russians live in the departure zone of Incheon International Airport. Arriving in Korea, they applied for refugee status, but the government rejected them at the preliminary assessment stage.

The Ministry of Justice believes that draft evasion is not a valid reason for recognizing them as refugees. Therefore, the Russians cannot leave the airport.

For several months now, they have been eating food provided by the Korean Ministry of Justice: for breakfast and dinner – a bun and a pack of juice, and for lunch – rice with chicken.

“I am not ashamed to defend my country. I would volunteer if someone attacked us and endangered my loved ones. But it is quite another matter when the aggressor is my own country. I will never take up arms to go kill innocent people in Ukraine,” says Maraktaev.

He left home on the night of September 24, a few hours after he received the summons. The Russian was afraid that in the morning they might come for him from the military registration and enlistment office.

At night, he got into a car with several neighbors who were also hiding from the draft, and they drove to Mongolia. From there, Maraktaev flew to the Philippines, where he stayed for several weeks, and then flew to South Korea.

Another Russian, who introduced himself as Andrey, said that even before the start of the war he fought against the corrupt Putin regime. When he received the summons, he thought that he would be thrown to the front line for participating in the rallies.

Another Russian stranded at a South Korean airport is Jashar Khubiev, a 31-year-old former footballer from Nalchik. He said that he was lucky to escape from Russia and avoid the fate of his acquaintances and friends who died in the war.

“Literally two days ago, about 400 Russian soldiers were killed near Makiivka. Two of them were my friends. I am still in shock,” Khubiev said.

Having been refused by the Korean government, the Russians filed an appeal with the court. He will make a decision at the end of January. If the court supports the Russians, they will receive a G-1 visa and will be able to live in Korea until the completion of the refugee candidacy process.

At the same time, refugee status is rarely approved in Korea. In 2021, the country’s refugee acceptance rate was only 1.3%, the second-lowest among the G20 countries.

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