More than 170,000 have ‘fled’ Russia in just 7 days after Putin’s mobilisation

More than 170,000 have ‘fled’ Russia in just 7 days after Putin’s mobilisation

More than 170,000 Russians are believed to have fled their country in just seven days after Vladimir Putin ordered a partial-mobilisation of reservists, British defence chiefs said on Thursday.

They stressed that they disproportionately included the “better-off and well-educated”.

The partial-mobilisation of 300,000 reservists has sparked protests in Russian cities.

Reports have also emerged that some men who should not be called up, due to their age or not being a reservist, have been.

Some Russians also fear Mr Putin may soon order a wider mobilisation.

In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence in London said: “In the seven days since President Putin announced the ‘partial mobilisation’ there has been a considerable exodus of Russians seeking to evade call-up.

“Whilst exact numbers are unclear, it likely exceeds the size of the total invasion force Russia fielded in February 2022.”

Estimates for the invasion force ranged from 170,000 to 190,000.

The briefing added: “The better off and well educated are over-represented amongst those attempting to leave Russia.

“When combined with those reservists who are being mobilised, the domestic economic impact of reduced availability of labour and the acceleration of ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant.”

The UK military chiefs have also emphasised that many of the new troops will have had little training before being sent to the frontline and so will suffer a high casualty rate.

They estimate that more than 80,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, injured, incapacitated, deserted or gone missing since the start of the invasion on February 24.

Ukrainian forces have also suffered heavy losses, with thousands of civilians also killed, some by Russian soldiers committing war crimes.

Britain, the US, Ukraine and their allies are fighting an information war against Russia so their briefings need to be treated with caution but are far more believable than the propaganda and outright denials often issued by the Kremlin.