Poland will not accept Russians fleeing mobilisation: officials

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Polish officials have said that Poland will not admit Russian men who decide to leave their country to avoid being called up to fight in Ukraine.

In a televised address on Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of the Russian population, as Russian forces battle a Ukrainian counter-offensive that has regained some occupied territory. The mobilisation includes military reservists and people who have previous military experience.

Polish deputy interior minister, Maciej Wasik, told a public radio station on Friday that Poland does not intend to let any Russians, claiming "they are fleeing mobilisation”, into the country “as this is too dangerous."

He added that even though some of them may be “sincerely fleeing the war”, this group would include people in contact with Russian special services, who would come “to wreak confusion, disinformation, and to infiltrate Russian opposition circles."

According to the Deputy Minister, Poland may consider individual cases, but people seeking asylum would need to prove they are dissidents and face torture and persecution in Russia for political reasons.

Later, the deputy defence minister, Marcin Ociepa, echoed Wasik in an interview given to Polsat News, a private TV broadcaster, saying that "there is no reason to let Russians, who are fleeing conscription, into Poland and the EU". He also cited potential security risks.

Mr Ociepa explained that "this type of operation may be a perfect opportunity for Russian secret services to send foreign agents here, under the pretext of fleeing deserters and refugees."

Meanwhile, on Monday, Poland tightened restrictions concerning the entry of Russian nationals into the country. Under the new regulations, Russians who are travelling to Poland for business or pleasure will not be able to enter the country if arriving from beyond the EU's external borders.