Russian man says he would break his leg or go to prison to avoid Putin's order to fight in Ukraine

A recruitment ad on a billboard in St Petersburg on September 20, 2022. It says "Serving Russia is a real job."Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of his troops on Wednesday.

  • Many Russians are desperately trying to get out of being drafted for the war in Ukraine.

  • One man told the BBC that he would break his arm or leg "to avoid this whole thing."

A Russian man told the BBC that he would break his leg or go to prison to avoid the draft for the war in Ukraine.

"I will break my arm, my leg, I will go to prison, anything to avoid this whole thing," said the man, who was not named, in an article published Thursday.

He is among the many Russians who are desperately trying to avoid being drafted after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a sweeping call-up on Wednesday, ending Russia's reliance on volunteer troops.

Around 300,000 people would be called up immediately, Russian officials said. They also said the new decree would only affect those with previous experience.

Hours after Putin's announcement, the most-searched term on Google in Russia was "how to break an arm at home," according to Newsweek.

(Google has a smaller market share in Russia than in the West but is still used by many millions of people.)

Another man who lives in Moscow, identified only as Vyacheslav, told the BBC that he and his friends were looking at other ways to get out of conscription. 

"Mental health or treatment for drug addiction look like good, cheap or perhaps even free options," he said.

"If you are stoned and get arrested while driving, hopefully, you will get your license taken away and will have to undergo treatment. You can't be certain but hopefully, this will be enough to avoid being taken," Vyacheslav added.

Some Russians are attempting to flee the country instead, prompting plane tickets to skyrocket in price or sell out completely. Land border crossings are also seeing increased traffic, the BBC reported.

Other Russians took to the streets, attending a series of anti-war protests in cities across the country on Wednesday, CNN reported. Many said that police detained them and they received orders to join the army while in jail, per CNN.

Putin's move came after Russian troops were forced into retreat from large areas of Ukraine.

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