During an unscheduled visit to Moscow, Lukashenko decided to publicly raise the unpleasant topic with the head of the Kremlin so that he could share his personal experience of having people flee his dictatorship.
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"It's fine if 30,000 leave, it's fine if even 50,000 leave," Lukashenko said, cheerfully trying to console Putin, who sat listening glumly.
Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on Sept. 26 that according to its sources in Russia's FSB security service, some 261,000 Russian men have left Russia in recent days.
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"And what if they had stayed - would they have been considered 'our people'? Let them run!" Lukashenko continued.
"I don't know how you feel about this... I didn't worry too much when several thousand left in 2020. They're asking to come back. Most of them say 'Take us back.' And yours will come back too. You just have to decide what to do with them. Either let them come back here, or let them stay over there."
Putin early on Sept. 21 declared a partial mobilization in Russia and his readiness to use nuclear weapons in the event of a "threat to the territorial integrity" of Russia.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, in a later address, announced that 300,000 reservists would be called up during the partial mobilization.
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After that, Russians rushed to buy tickets to other countries en masse to avoid being called up for the war in Ukraine.
In turn, the Kremlin's puppet in Chechnya, warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, said that he was not going to mobilize locals as the republic had already "surpassed the target" for raising troops for the Kremlin's war on Ukraine.