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Image Courtesy: www.kremlin.ru, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported | Wikimedia Commons

President Vladimir Putin’s order to mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists for the war in Ukraine has triggered widespread protests and prompted a mass exodus of fighting-age Russians.

The call-up of some 300,000 reservists has led to the first sustained protests since the invasion began, with one monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people have been arrested so far. All public criticism of Russia's “special military operation” is banned.

Flights out of Russia have sold out, and cars have clogged border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue at the sole road border to Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbor that allows Russian citizens to enter without a visa.

In Georgia, the number of Russians arriving doubled to 10,000 per day from September 21. Around 5,500 cars are waiting to cross the border.

In Finland, nearly 17,000 Russians crossed the border between Sep 24 and Sep 25.

In Kazakhstan, around 98,000 Russians have crossed the border since the draft was announced, and in Mongolia, the arrival of thousands of Russians is piling pressure on the government. The country depends entirely on Russian oil and gas.

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