Posted For: Willie Wonka
Two Russians who said they fled their country to avoid compulsory military service are believed to have requested asylum in the US after landing on a remote Alaskan island in the Bering Sea.
Gambell is about 200 miles southwest of the western Alaska hub community of Nome and about 36 miles from the Chukotka Peninsula, Siberia.
The two men told locals in Gambell that they had come from the village of Egvekinot, a village of less than 3,000 located along the coast of Kresta Bay, which leads into the Bering Sea.
Karina Borger, a spokesperson for Alaska US Senator Lisa Murkowski, said that her office has been in communication with the US Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection and that ‘the Russian nationals reported that they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service.’
Alaska’s US senators Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, said the individuals landed at a beach near Gambell, an isolated community of about 600 people on St Lawrence Island.
The two men were transported to Anchorage where they were screened, vetted and then went through US Immigration processing, reports CNN.
Two Russians who said they fled the country to avoid compulsory military service are believed to have requested asylum in the US after landing on a remote Alaskan island, St Lawrence Island, in the Bering Sea
Gambell is about 200 miles southwest of the western Alaska hub community of Nome and about 36 miles from the Chukotka Peninsula, Siberia
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin began a conscription effort known as ‘partial mobilization’ as his invasion of Ukraine continues to falter amid heavy resistance.
This action effectively called up 300,000 men for military service.
Photos and videos showed Russian citizens escaping the country en masse, heading towards the country’s land borders with nations such as Mongolia, Georgia and Finland.
One of the most searched internet terms in Russia on the week of the announcement was ‘How to break your arm.’
On Wednesday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy told the media that his office does not expect an influx of Russian defectors.
He said: ‘We have no indication that’s going to happen, so this is maybe a one-off.’
The Republican went on to warn of an impending weather system in the Bering Strait that would make any water crossing ‘dangerous.’
The shortest distance between Russia and Alaska is 55 miles.
The statement does not specify when the incident occurred though Sullivan said he was alerted to the matter by a ‘senior community leader from the Bering Strait region’ on Tuesday morning.
A Sullivan spokesperson, Ben Dietderich, said it was the office’s understanding that the individuals had arrived by boat.
Spokespersons with the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection referred a reporter’s questions to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security public affairs office, which provided little information Thursday.
The office, in a statement, said the individuals ‘were transported to Anchorage for inspection, which includes a screening and vetting process, and then subsequently processed in accordance with applicable U.S. immigration laws under the Immigration and Nationality Act.’