Russian who fled draft stranded in S. Korean airport

STORY: Location: Incheon, South Korea

This student fled Russia to avoid military service in Ukraine

For the past two months, he's been living inside a South Korean airport

Date: January 18, 2023

(Vladimir Maraktayev, Russian student)

"I remember that I was staring blankly at this piece of paper that I found in my mailbox. At that moment I didn't really realize what was the meaning of this document. And for a good five minutes I was just reading it over and over again without clutching the reason why I had received this.When the meaning got to me finally I rushed up to my apartment, took some clothes that I could possibly see in my vision field and just ran away as fast as I could."

"My life here has been like a Groundhog Day. It's nothing new, nothing exciting to be about. We just wait here for quite a while. Exactly two months already. The third month is on the way. All day I do basically nothing. I wake up. I have some food that the ministry of justice provides us. I have a walk. Then I don’t know, start to read the books. Maybe try to learn Korean. That's basically it."

"There's quite a big place in this departure area. There are tables, there are seats. And there's another room, and we stack blankets on top of each other, so it's easier to sleep. It feels like solid ground if you don't have soft material to lie onto.

"Even if I try to return, they will most likely detain me at the border. And then hand me over to the police. Police will hand me over to the military, to the conscription office, and they in return will send me to the frontline."

"We did not want to run away. In life, there are no good or bad choices. There is sometimes a lesser evil you have to choose. To run away, not to kill people. Not to die, yourself."