The traffic jam at the Upper Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border stretched more than 20 kilometers on September 28, and the wait time was about two days.
North Ossetia has imposed restrictions on cars arriving from other parts of Russia as an exodus of military-age men out of the country has resulted in a long line of vehicles at a remote border crossing with Georgia.
Sergei Menyailo, North Ossetia's governor, said on September 28 that the restrictions were being introduced in Russia's North Caucasus region because it “will not be physically able to ensure order and security if this flow continues to grow." The restrictions apply to "citizens who are registered with the military not only in North Ossetia, but also in other regions of the country," Menyailo said on Telegram after imposing the restrictions by decree .
Menyailo calls the decision to restrict entry a "forced measure" associated with "a huge amount of transit traffic" and many kilometers of queues at the Upper Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border. Exceptions will be made only for residents of North Ossetia, Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, and Georgia, and tourists who have the necessary documents. Mobile operational groups are already working at the entrances to North Ossetia and at the entrance to the Upper Lars checkpoint to check whether those entering are subject to conscription. Representatives of the military registration and enlistment offices in the operational groups have general lists of conscripts from the Ministry of Defense, Menyailo said. North Ossetian authorities announced the creation of a temporary draft office at Upper Lars on September 27 to issue draft papers to reservists who are attempting to leave Russia in defiance of the mobilization order. Tens of thousands of draft-age men have been leaving Russia since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization last week. Georgia, which allows Russians to stay without a visa for up to a year, has been one of the most popular destinations. There are no direct flights between Russia and Georgia, and the Upper Lars crossing, which straddles a remote mountain pass, is the only operational crossing point between them. The traffic jam at Upper Lars on September 28 stretched more than 20 kilometers, and the wait time was about two days. On September 27, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that the number of trucks and cars waiting to cross the border had grown to 5,500. In response to the huge traffic jam, Russian citizens have been allowed to cross the border at the Upper Lars on foot despite the border crossing not being intended for this. Before Putin announced the military mobilization about 5,000 to 6,000 Russian citizens crossed into Georgia through Upper Lars every day. Now the daily influx of Russians is about twice that, said Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri. Georgia does not plan to impose restrictions on Russians. Georgian authorities on September 28 also condemned the so-called referendums that took place from September 23 to September 27 in four territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia. “These attempts to annex Ukrainian territories are unacceptable. Georgia strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement .
The statement described the referendums as “cynical violations of international law and the will of the Ukrainian people, who continue to fight heroically against the invasion.”