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Families' tearful goodbyes for the first Russian reservists as Putin mobilises troops to Ukraine

Telegraph, 23 Sep 2022
Breaking news - Despite widespread Russian protests against Putin's partial mobilisation order, the first reservists gathered in various cities across Russia on Thursday as the wartime order to bolster troops fighting in Ukraine got underway.

Hundreds of men said goodbye to their tearful families, uncertain whether they'll see their loved ones again.

A draftee's father was surprised to discover his young son had been called up because he's a student.

"The president's decree said no students would be recruited. And then it happened, they recruited him without any explanation. This is not right." He said, as his son was about to board the bus with hundreds of other conscripts in their region.

"The enlistment officer said he would talk to me afterwards." He added: "But after they've gone."

Putin ordered the partial mobilisation Wednesday to fight in Ukraine, a deeply unpopular move that sparked protests across the country and led to almost 1,200 arrests.

Some protesters detained at the anti-war rallies were threatened with deployment to the frontlines and reports that men with no military experience were being called up, despite the Kremlin's assurances that wouldn't happen.

Stories emerged from one remote region of university students being pulled straight out of class.

The move also sent some Russians scrambling to buy plane tickets and drive to bordering countries. Traffic at frontier crossings with Finland and Georgia surged and prices for air tickets from Moscow rocketed.

Vladimir Putin has secretly approved a law that could send a further one million men to fight in Ukraine, according to information leaked from the Kremlin.

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