Vladimir Putin: Exiled Russian Millionaire Slams One-Sentence Rebuke | World | New

A fierce critic of Putin, Mr Khodorkovsky was quoted by RUSI associate member Samuel Ramani, who wrote in a tweet: “Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Vladimir Putin’s historic achievement: ‘Russia is most likely the first and the only country in the world where people flee not because someone invaded their country, but because they invaded another country”.

The rebuke comes as Kazakhstan says it is struggling to accommodate the tens of thousands of Russians who have fled their homeland since Moscow announced military mobilization last week.

Russian men began crossing the world’s second-longest land border en masse after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of reservists last week amid a stalled military campaign in Ukraine.

Russians do not need a visa or even a passport to enter Kazakhstan, just their Russian identity papers. The Russian language is also widely spoken in the country, which is home to a large ethnic Russian minority.

Russians were forced to queue for hours at the Kyakhta border crossing in the ethnic Mongolian province of Buryatia.

They said they had little choice after Putin announced the “partial mobilization” of 300,000 troops.

Aleksey, 40, a construction worker, plans to stay in Mongolia until the situation in Russia improves. He said he would do whatever it took to avoid war.

He asked: “We are not afraid, but why do we have to fight in Ukraine, why?

“If other countries attacked Russia, we would fight for our country. But why are we going to Ukraine? For what?”

Although Mongolian citizens demonstrated against the Russian invasion, the government itself remained neutral.

Mongolia’s former president Tsakhia Elbegdorj urged Putin last week to end the conflict, adding that ethnic Mongols in Russia have been used as “cannon fodder” and killed by the thousands in Ukraine.

He said in an address shared on social media: “Since you [Putin] started this war, Russia was drowned in fear, full of tears. Your mobilization brings oceans of suffering. Mr. President, stop your senseless killing and destruction.”

Meanwhile, Russian-organized referendums that could lead to its annexation of 15% of Ukrainian territory were due to end today. Voting in the Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the east and southeast began on Friday.

This weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would defend any territory it annexed using all the weapons in its arsenal. Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that Russia has the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond its limits and that is not ” certainly not a bluff”.

Mr. Medvedev said in a post on Telegram: “Let us imagine that Russia is forced to use the most formidable weapon against the Ukrainian regime which has committed a large-scale act of aggression dangerous for the very existence of our State. I believe that NATO will not directly intervene in the conflict, even in this scenario. Demagogues across the ocean and in Europe are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse.

According to Russian nuclear doctrine, the president can use nuclear weapons if the state faces an existential threat, including conventional weapons.

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