Two Russian nationals arrived at St. Lawrence Island, taken to Anchorage
Two Russian men arrived by boat on St. Lawrence Island in the evening around 8 p.m. on Monday, October 3. Gambell officials informed federal and state officials and the community took care of the men overnight until the U.S. Coast Guard arrived with a C-130 the following day, taking US Customs and Border Protection officials to the island.
During a press conference on the impending storm and recovery efforts after Merbok in western Alaska, Governor Mike Dunleavy confirmed that two individuals came over from Russia in a boat and made landfall at Gambell. To his understanding, he said, they are in Anchorage now “being dealt with by federal authorities.”
“We don’t anticipate a stream of individuals or flotilla of individuals, no indication that that’s gonna happen. This may be a one off,” he said.
Reports in nationwide news outlets detail Russian men fleeing to bordering countries in Central Asia, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey to avoid being drafted to the Russian Army to fight in Ukraine. President Vladivimir Putin on Sept. 21 announced a mobilizing more troops, which triggered an exodus of reportedly thousands of men from Russia.
Governor Dunleavy said, “This was a surprise to us, who knows what’s gonna happen in the future, if more individuals are trying to leave Russia through the Bering Straits.”