LONDON, (Reuters) – Russia’s North Ossetia republic imposed restrictions on cars arriving from other parts of the country as an exodus of military-age men led to a queue of over 3,000 vehicles at the region’s Verkhny Lars crossing point into Georgia.
North Ossetia Governor Sergei Menyailo said the ban was being introduced after 20,000 people crossed the border in two days, with far more remaining in line.
“We will not be physically able to ensure order and security if this flow continues to grow,” he said on Telegram.
Menyailo said the ban would not apply to residents or tourists, or to cars entering from Georgia or its breakaway South Ossetia region.
Tens of thousands of draft-age men have made to leave Russia since President Vladimir Putin announced a martial mobilisation last week to bolster his army in Ukraine. Georgia, which allows Russians to stay without a visa for a year, has been one of the most popular destinations.
There are no direct flights between Russia and Georgia, and Verkhny Lars, which straddles a remote mountain pass, is the only operational crossing point between them.
North Ossetian authorities on Tuesday announced the creation of a temporary draft office at Verkhny Lars which would issue draft papers to reservists barred from leaving Russia under the mobilisation order.
Reporting by Felix Light