Asked on Monday about the prospect of the border being shut, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “I don’t know anything about this. At the moment, no decisions have been taken on this.”
Reports that Russia might close the frontier have contributed to turmoil since President Vladimir Putin gave the order last week to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists in the biggest escalation yet of the seven-month Ukraine war.
Flights out of Russia have sold out and cars have piled up at border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue at the sole road border to Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbor that allows Russian citizens to enter without a visa.
“Panic. All the people I know are in panic,” said David, a Russian who gave only his first name out of fear of reprisals, in an interview with The Associated Press news agency at a border crossing with Georgia. “We are running from the regime that kills people.”
Long lines of cars were also seen on roads to border crossings with Kazakhstan and Mongolia.