Oct 6, 2022 - World

2 Russians fleeing military service seek asylum after arriving to Alaska

Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the U.S. Capitol Building on Aug. 2. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Two Russians who fled their country to avoid military conscription have requested asylum in the U.S. after arriving in Alaska.

Driving the news: The pair arrived in a small boat onto a remote island near Gambell in the Bering Sea, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) office said Thursday.

  • The senator's office has been in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said he spoke with officials at the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security's office "given current heightened tensions with Russia" and "encouraged them to have a plan ready" in the event that more Russians flee to Alaska.

What they're saying: "We are actively engaged with federal officials and residents in Gambell to determine who these individuals are, but right now, we already know that the federal response was lacking," Murkowski said.

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