Two Russian men arrived by boat on a remote Alaskan island and requested political asylum. The men claimed they fled Russia to avoid being conscripted into the Russian army to fight in Ukraine.
Alaska's senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan said the two men landed on a beach near Gambell in St. Lawrence Island, which sits in the Bering Sea. The island is roughly 50 miles from the Russian coast.
The two men were transported to Anchorage as officials worked to confirm their identities and decide if their request for asylum would be granted.
"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. This is why Senator Murkowski and I have been pressing officials in Washington D.C. so hard on the need to prioritize capabilities in the Arctic -- including infrastructure, Coast Guard assets, ports, and strategic defense assets," Sullivan said in a joint statement with Murkowski.