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Ukraine war

Russians fleeing draft strain Kazakhstan's services, diplomacy

President Tokayev calls for 'humanity, patience' ahead of awkward Putin visit

Russian citizens converge on a public service center in Almaty to receive individual identification numbers on Sept. 28.    © Reuters

ALMATY -- Kazakhstan has become a prime destination for Russian civilians seeking to avoid being drafted into the Ukraine war, but the influx is starting to strain the vast Central Asian country's services -- and potentially its relationship with Moscow.

Around 200,000 people fleeing conscription have entered Kazakhstan since Moscow began its partial mobilization on Sept. 21, according to figures announced this week by the Kazakh government, which has so far welcomed them. About 147,000 have either moved on to third countries or returned to Russia, leaving Kazakhstan with 50,000 or so Russians staying for the time being.

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