Two fugitive Russian nationals have landed by boat on a remote Alaskan island in the Bering Sea after being summoned by President Vladimir Putin’s military security forces and are seeking asylum in the United States, two state senators and U.S. government officials said Thursday.
The extraordinary incident highlights how some Russians have moved to avoid mobilizing up to 300,000 people as Putin’s army, which has suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, has made several retreats in recent weeks amid an aggressive offensive by Ukrainian forces. A An estimated 200,000 Russians They fled after receiving the call.
The two appeared this week on a beach near Campbell, a small community on the northwestern tip of the St. Lawrence Island, about 40 miles from mainland Russia, where Sen. A spokeswoman for Lisa Murkowski said. (R-Alaska) told the Associated Press.
Murkowski and fellow Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan said the incident exposed the need for greater security in the Arctic, where Russian military ships and aircraft have increasingly asserted their presence. Seven warships From Russia and China Last month it sailed in international waters in the Bering Sea.
“We are actively engaged with federal authorities and the residents of Campbell to determine who these individuals are, but right now, we already know that there is no federal response,” Murkowski said. “Only local authorities and state law enforcement had the ability to immediately respond to asylum seekers, while Customs and Border Protection had to send a Coast Guard aircraft to the scene 750 miles away.”
The Coast Guard referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security, which said the Russians were transported to Anchorage for processing.
Sullivan said in a statement that the incident made it clear that “the Russian people do not want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
The War in Ukraine: What You Need to Know
Latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decrees on Friday Unite the four occupied regions of Ukraine, following referendums that were widely condemned as illegitimate. Follow our Live updates here.
Answer: The Biden administration announced Friday New round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the links, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials, and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday Ukraine Applying for “accelerated accession” to NATOIn apparent response to links.
In Russia: Putin announced military mobilization Sep. You can invite as many people as you want in 21 300,000 bookers In a dramatic attempt to reverse the setback in his war on Ukraine. Notice led An discharge of More than 180,000 peopleMostly Men under serviceAnd Renewed protests and other actions against the war.
Fighting: Ukraine loaded A successful counterattack That It forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region By early September, the troops had left the towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war. Large quantities of military equipment were dropped.
Photos: Washington Post photographers have been in the field since the start of the war – Here are some of their most powerful works.