On Sep. 21, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” in Russia, marking the country’s first mobilization since the second world war. Shortly thereafter, the country’s defense ministry, Sergei Shoigu, revealed that 300,000 Russians “with previous military experience” would be drafted.
In the wake of Putin’s announcement, tens of thousands of Russian citizens have attempted to leave the country in order to avoid being drafted for the war. Many lined up along the country’s southern border with Georgia, with more than 90,000 Russians crossing into Georgia in the past two weeks.
As footage continues to show cars waiting for days to approach the border, Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko admitted he was surprised to see so many of his countrymen become draft dodgers.
“For me personally, it was a great discovery and a slight shock when you read the news in our country, what is happening in the military registration and enlistment offices and that people are fleeing the draft,” Emelianenko told Championat.
Emelianenko served in the Russian army between 1995-7, first as a military firefighter before becoming a member of the Tank Division near Nizhny Novgorod. Upon completing his service, Emelianenko began competing in MMA for the Rings fight league.
The legendary heavyweight also revealed that none of the fighters in his team, which includes Bellator light-heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov, have been enlisted in the war.
“We live for today but we are all getting ready,” Emelianenko said.
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