Some Russians rush for the border after mobilisation order

“War is horrible,” Sergei, a Russian man who declined to give his surname, told Reuters as he arrived in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. “It’s okay to be afraid of war and of death and such things.”

Sergei said his friends and colleagues were anxious about the possibility of being sent to fight in Ukraine. “They’re afraid also,” he said. “It’s a difficult situation.”

A tourism industry source told Reuters that there was desperation as people sought to find air tickets out of Russia.

“This is panic demand from people who are afraid they won’t be able to leave the country later – people are buying tickets not caring where they fly to,” the source said.

Traffic arriving at Finland’s eastern border with Russia “intensified” overnight, the Finnish Border Guard said.

“The number clearly has picked up,” the Finnish border guard’s head of international affairs, Matti Pitkaniitty, told Reuters, adding that the situation was under control and border guards were ready at nine checkpoints.

Russian police detained more than 1,300 people in Russia on Wednesday at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said.

In the far eastern region of Yakutia, a military commissar ordered a call for mobilisation.