This is the moment when an uneasy-looking Vladimir Putin squirms in his seat as he is forced to endure a bizarre lecture about people fleeing his rule from fellow autocrat Alexander Lukashenko.
The Belarusian president, who needed Putin’s help to crush a pro-Western democratic movement in his country in 2020, assured the Kremlin leader that he would win his war in Ukraine, despite growing unrest over his decision to mobilize 300,000 new troops.
The Kremlin chief looked hunched and uncomfortable and said little during the Sochi meeting, while Russians continued to protest his mobilization edict or flee abroad to avoid conscription.
“Our course is right, our cause is right,” Lukashenko told Putin, bringing a rare smile to the Russian warmonger’s lips.
‘We will win. We have no other choice. We, as Slavs, would not tolerate humiliation,” said Lukashenko.
However, the bombastic speech of the Belarusian leaders gave the lie to the situation on the ground.
The call for mobilization has proved extremely unpopular, with hundreds of thousands of Russian men already fleeing the country to avoid the call.
Departures from Russia are completely sold out and the traffic jams at the Russian borders are so big that they can be seen from space.
Anti-war protests have erupted across the country, and Russian media have reported a rising number of arson attacks on military posts. Yesterday a recruiting officer was shot dead at near point blank range by a man who refused to be drafted.
Alexander Lukashenko (R) shakes hands with Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Sochi, Russia
Belarusian President Lukashenko (L) – who needed Putin’s help to crush a pro-Western democratic movement in his country in 2020 – assured the Kremlin leader he would win his war in Ukraine
A satellite image shows trucks and cars waiting in a traffic jam near Russia’s border with Georgia as Russians desperately try to flee the country on September 25, 2022
A satellite image shows traffic at the Khyagt border post on the border between Russia and Mongolia on September 23, 2022
Lukashenko continued his monologue in Sochi yesterday, asking rhetorical questions while Putin sat silently beside him, squirming uncomfortably.
“Let’s say 30,000 or 50,000 [people] run away. If they stayed, would they be our people?’ said the Belarusian President.
“Let her run away. I don’t know what you think about that, but I wasn’t too worried in 2020 when people left [Belarus after protests over his vote-rigging].
‘She [later] ask to let them in. So these will come back too.
“But a decision has to be made: what to do with them? Should they come back or stay?’
While Lukashenko and Putin were chatting in Sochi yesterday, a young conscript shot dead a Russian military officer at point-blank range in a draft office in an unusually bold attack reflecting opposition to mobilization efforts.
The shooting came after isolated arson attacks on draft offices and protests in Russian cities against military drafts that have led to at least 2,000 arrests.
In the attack in the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk, 25-year-old resident Ruslan Zinin entered the draft office and said, “Nobody will go to the fight” and “We will all go home now,” according to local media.
A witness quoted by a local news site said Zinin was in a room full of people called up for combat and troops from his region were heading to military bases on Tuesday.
This is the moment gunman Ruslan Zinin, 25, went to a Russian recruiting office in Ust-Ilimsk and shot dead military commissar Alexander Eliseev
Gunman Ruslan Zinin, 25, said he shot the officer in anger as he called for mobilization
Footage of the incident showed Zinin going into the office and beating the officer before being arrested and forced to testify to the crime on camera, which he willingly did.
Authorities said the military commander was in intensive care.
Protests also flared up in Dagestan, one of Russia’s poorer regions in the North Caucasus.
Local media reported that “several hundred” protesters took to the streets in the capital Makhachkala on Tuesday.
Videos circulated online showing dozens of protesters tussling with police who were sent to disperse them.
Demonstrations also continued in another republic in Russia’s North Caucasus, Kabardino-Balkaria, where videos on social media showed a local official attempting to address a crowd of women who joined to chant “No to war!” .
Protests have also erupted across Russia in anger at Putin’s decision to start conscription, with around 2,000 people arrested so far
There are growing concerns that Russia may attempt to escalate the conflict – including the possible use of nuclear weapons – once it concludes what Ukraine and the West see as illegal referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine.
The vote, which will ask residents if they want their regions to become part of Russia, began last week and will end on Tuesday under conditions that are far from free or fair.
Tens of thousands of residents had already fled the regions before months of fighting, and pictures shared by those who remained showed armed Russian troops going door-to-door to urge Ukrainians to vote.
“Every night and every day in Donbass there are inevitable shelling, under the noise of which people are forced to vote for Russian ‘peace’,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Monday.
Russia is widely expected to declare the results in its favour, a move that could result in Moscow annexing the four regions and then defending them as its own territory.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11253607/Putin-squirms-seat-Lukashenko-rants-men-running-away-mobilisation.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Putin squirms in his seat as Lukashenko rants about men “running away” from mobilization.