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Refugees

Germany wants to grant asylum to Russian deserters

The phones have not stopped ringing in the office of the German human rights organization Pro Asyl, as inquiries from Russia continue to flood in. "People are asking how they can get out of the country now. Since the announcement of the partial mobilization in Russia, our social media channels and our consulting team have been inundated," Pro Asyl's Wiebke Judith tells DW.

But the human rights organization's advisors can't offer much hope at the moment to those inquiring. "The problem is: how do they get to Europe in the first place?" Judith explains. "The escape routes are very restricted. All the more so because the bordering EU states make it almost impossible for Russians to enter by land."

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are currently refusing entry to Russian nationals. Finland offers an overland route to reach the EU, but the government in Helsinki is also considering imposing entry restrictions for Russian citizens.

Protection for opposition members

Politicians from most political parties in Germany agree that Russian deserters are welcome in Germany. Conscientious objectors, even those who have not yet been called up for service, should also be granted asylum, according to representatives of the ruling coalition of center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP), as well as numerous politicians from the opposing center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and socialist Left Party.

"There needs to be a place for them to flee to," Green Party foreign policy expert Robin Wagener told DW's TV news program. He said it was also better for Ukraine if Russians fled military service than if they joined the fight. "We should welcome them with open arms," Wagener said.

This applies not only to those who do not want to participate in what he referred to as Russia's "war of annihilation" against Ukraine. "We also need opportunities for members of the democratic opposition in Russia to come to Europe. So that it can work from here to stop the war, overthrow the dictator and build another Russia."

All ways to move to Germany (available only in Russian)

All ways to move to Germany (available only in Russian)