Writing on Saturday in The Guardian, Nicole Stybnarova addresses the issue of asylum for Russian men fleeing the draft. She states that the 1951 refugee convention should be upheld by Russia’s neighbours for those refusing to fight in Russia’s war against Ukraine and seeking safety outside Russia.
As she says, the “legal side of the story” is that these states are parties to the 1951 refugee convention and have therefore committed to adhere to its definition of a refugee. “Since evading the current military draft in Russia can lead to prosecution and up to 10 years’ imprisonment and other types of persecution”, and “(s)ince lots of people are evading the draft because they do not support the illegal war in Ukraine, this potential persecution is linked to their political objection”, the convention definition does apply to many Russians fleeing conscription.
She also comments that “The choice not to recognise Russians as refugees is a political one, and may not comply with international law.”