The first reservists gathered in cities across Russia on Thursday as Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization order was launched.
Hundreds of men said goodbye to their tearful families, unsure if they would see their loved ones again.
A father was surprised to find that his son, a student, had been summoned.
He said, “The president’s decree said no students would be recruited. And then it happened, they recruited him without any explanation. This is not right.”
“The recruiting officer said he would talk to me afterwards.” He added: “But after they are gone.”
Putin on Wednesday ordered the partial mobilization to bolster his protracted invasion of Ukraine, sparking protests across the country.
Some protesters detained at the anti-war rallies were threatened with frontline deployment. In other cases, men with no military experience were called up, despite the Kremlin’s assurances that this would not happen.
Stories surfaced of college students being taken straight out of class in a remote region.
The move also caused some Russians to rush to buy airline tickets and drive to neighboring countries. Traffic at the border crossings with Finland and Georgia soared and prices for flight tickets from Moscow skyrocketed.
According to information leaked from the Kremlin, Putin secretly passed a law that could send another million men to fight in Ukraine.