Poland will not accept Russians fleeing mobilisation say officials

Polish officials have said that Poland will not admit Russian men who decide to leave their country to avoid being called up to fight in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised address on Wednesday morning, announced a partial mobilisation of the Russian population, as Russian forces battle a Ukrainian counter-offensive that has regained some occupied territory. The mobilisation includes military reservists and people who have previous military experience.

Polish deputy interior minister, Maciej Wasik, told a public radio station on Friday that Poland does not intend to let any group of Russians into the country "even those who say that they are fleeing mobilisation... as this is too dangerous."

He explained that even if the majority were people who were "sincerely fleeing the war", this group would include people in contact with Russian special services who would come... to wreak confusion, disinformation, and to infiltrate Russian opposition circles."

But he added that in individual cases Poland will be able to apply asylum regulations if a Russian citizen will be able to prove that he is a dissident and faces tortures and persecution in Russia for political reasons.

Later, a deputy defence minister, Marcin Ociepa, echoed Wasik when talking to a private TV broadcaster Polsat News.

He said that "there is no reason to let Russians fleeing conscription into Poland and the EU" and also cited potential security risks.

"This type of operation may be a perfect opportunity for Russian secret services to send foreign agents here under the pretext of sending deserters and refugees."

Meanwhile on Monday, Poland decided to tighten restrictions on the entry of Russian nationals to the country. Under the new regulations Russians traveling for tourism, cultural, sporting or business purposes will not be able to come to Poland from beyond the EU's external borders.