Five Russian nationals who all separately fled Russia’s autumn mobilization drive hoping to find a safe haven in South Korea have been stuck in limbo at Seoul’s international airport for as long as two months, The Korea Times daily reported Monday.
All five men reportedly claimed asylum upon arrival at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport only to have their applications rejected as fleeing the military draft is not considered grounds for refugee status in South Korea. They have been living in the airport’s transit area ever since.
One of the men, Vladimir Maraktaev, told the newspaper "I will never take weapons to go and kill innocent people in Ukraine."
All five men reportedly received their call-up papers shortly before deciding to flee the country to avoid fighting in Ukraine.
The five men have now filed a joint appeal against the Justice Ministry’s decision and a court is due to rule on the case at the end of January, according to the lawyer overseeing their case.
The five men, some of whom have been in the transit area for months, currently live on three simple meals delivered to them by the South Korean authorities each day, The Korea Times reported.