Two Russian nationals arrived at a remote Alaskan island seeking asylum in the US, a pair of senators announced Thursday amid a mass exodus of Russians from their country.
The state of Alaska’s Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, said the Russians landed at a beach near Gambell, located on the northwest tip of St. Lawrence Island. Gambell is a small city less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Russian mainland.
The discovery of the two on Tuesday morning comes as thousands of Russians are fleeing that country after President Vladimir Putin ordered a mass mobilization to support his war effort in Ukraine.
"I continue to be in regular communication with DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas and officials at Customs and Border Protection and have encouraged them to have a plan ready with the Coast Guard in the event that more Russians flee to Bering Strait communities in Alaska," Sullivan said in a statement.
"This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don’t want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Second, given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America’s national security," he added.