Two Russian Migrants Flee by Sea to Alaska to Avoid War in Ukraine

by BOB PRICE 6 Oct 2022

A pair of Russian men landed a small boat on St. Lawarence Island near Gambell, Alaska, on Tuesday morning. The men reportedly sought asylum after fleeing Russia to avoid the Russian war with Ukraine.

After local and Alaskan officials detained the two men, Coast Guard officials arrived and flew the men off the island located in the Bering Sea. The men told Gambell Town Clerk Curtis Silook the men said they sailed from the city of Egvekinot in northeastern Russia. They told villagers they made the 300-mile journey to avoid the expansion of compulsory Russian military service, KTUU Alaska News Source reported.

Graphic: Offices of Senators Murkowski and Sullivan

Alaska’s two Republican U.S. Senators — Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan — contacted federal officials in Washington, D.C. regarding the slow response from the government regarding the Russian asylum seekers.

Murkowski criticized the Biden administration saying, “we already know that the federal response was lacking.

Only local officials and state law enforcement had the capability to immediately respond to the asylum seekers, while Customs and Border Protection had to dispatch a Coast Guard aircraft from over 750 miles away to get on scene.”

“This situation underscores the need for a stronger security posture in America’s Arctic, which I have championed throughout my time in the Senate,” Murkowski added in a written statement.

Senator Sullivan added, “Given current heightened tensions with Russia, I called the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and spoke to him as well as another senior DHS official when I was first contacted about this situation on Tuesday morning by a senior community leader from the Bering Strait region. Since those calls, Customs and Border Protection is responding and going through the process to determine the admissibility of these individuals to enter the United States.”

“This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don’t want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Second, given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America’s national security,” Sullivan stated.

The BBC reported:

Gambell – home to less than 500 permanent residents – sits on the north-western cape of St Lawrence Island. The island is located some 36 miles (56km) from Russia’s Chukchi Peninsula, meaning it is closer to Russia than it is to the Alaskan mainland. According to local media, Gambell residents can see the Russian territory of Siberia across the sea.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said the two men arrived “in a small board on Tuesday.” The men were reportedly flown to Anchorage, Alaska, for “vetting and screening.”

The asylum seekers fled to the U.S. following the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for the mobilization of 300,000 additional troops, Forbes reports. Approximately 53,000 Russians fled the country and took refuge in several European Union countries.

Two Russian Migrants Flee by Sea to Alaska to Avoid War in Ukraine (