After fleeing from Putin
Mobilized Russians live at the airport in South Korea
Five Russians are currently at home at Seoul Airport. They are stranded after fleeing mobilization in their homeland.
Five Russian men have been living at Incheon Airport in South Korea for several months.
They live in the airport, just like Tom Hanks (66) once did in the film “Terminal”. Five Russians stranded at Incheon Airport near Seoul (South Korea). Fleeing partial mobilization in their home country, they had sought asylum in South Korea.
But their applications were rejected. What the men probably didn’t know: South Korea has an extremely low recognition rate. In 2021, it was 1.3 percent for refugees, as reported by the Korea Times.
One of those stranded is Vladimir Maraktayev (23). He was asked on September 24 to go to the Ukraine war and fight for Russia. The 23-year-old then fled. “I would volunteer to fight if someone attacks us and puts my loved ones in danger. But it’s a different story when my own country starts the war. I will never take up arms to kill innocent people in Ukraine,” he told the Korea Times.
A muffin and a pack of juice
From Mongolia he flew to the Philippines and from there on to South Korea – hoping to stay there. That was on November 12th. Since then, Maraktayev has been stuck at the airport. His asylum application was rejected. Not taking part in the war was not a valid reason for obtaining refugee status, authorities said.
So he’s been living at this airport in the waiting room of the duty free area for several months. And he’s not alone. Four other Russian men are in the same position as him. They subsist on foods provided by the Justice Department: a muffin and a pack of juice for breakfast and dinner, and rice and chicken for lunch.
Lawyer fights for the five Russians
The five Russians are still trying to get South Korea to recognize their refugee status. They have now hired a lawyer. “These men are persecuted in their home country because of their political beliefs, which qualifies them for asylum status under international standards. The ministry should be well aware of this,” he told the Korean Times. A court is currently dealing with the stranded Russians. The verdict should follow at the end of January.
If the court agrees with the men, they will be granted a visa and can stay in Korea temporarily. But if they are ruled against, they will likely be sent back to their home country. (lrc)