Jews attempting to flee Russia rejected by neighboring country

Israel-Russian dual nationals were reportedly turned away from land crossings into Estonia despite having Israeli passports and tickets for flights to Tel Aviv.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A number of Israelis holding dual Russian citizenship have been reportedly blocked from entering Estonia in recent days, according to Hebrew media reports.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to begin conscripting men into military service. Moscow says it may call up  as many as 300,000 men. The announcement sparked a wave of Russians trying to flee the country to evade the draft.

Since the announcement, the neighboring countries of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia placed restrictions on the numbers of Russians allowed to enter their countries. The restrictions were not meant to include people carrying other passports, however.

Two men told Haaretz they were refused entry to Estonia even though they had Israeli passports and tickets to continue traveling to Tel Aviv.

Eight other Israelis were also barred entry, according to the Telegram channel, Trueisrael.

Another woman, Lia Chechik, told Haaretz she could not enter because she did not have a ticket for a connecting flight to Israel or valid health insurance in the European Union. The paper noted that Chechik later returned with the proper documents and was permitted to enter.

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry said its consulate in Finland — which also oversees relations with Estonia — is looking into the matter.

Unable to fly to most countries, Russians seeking to evade the draft have swamped land border crossings with Finland, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and even as far east as Mongolia. Videos posted on social media showed lines of cars stretching for miles.

The New York Times reported that the few available flights out of Russia to Turkey, UAE, Armenia and Montenegro have either sold out or have become too expensive. Russians do not need a visa to enter those countries.

According to Associated Press, the price for a one-way economy class flight from Moscow to Dubai or Istanbul cost more than $9,100.