Home / News / World /  ‘Only one meal a day’: 5 men have been living in an airport for over 5 months because…

In a real-life rendition of Tom Hank's movie Terminal, 5 men have been living in an airport for the past 5 months surviving on ‘one meal a day.’ All the men who have been living in South Korea’s Incheon International Airport are Russian and fled the country after Moscow’s military mobilization order in September 2022. However, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has dismissed their application to enter the country citing that refusal of conscription was not a reason for refugee recognition. 

Speaking about their conditions, their lawyer Lee Jong-chan told CNN, “They are provided with one meal a day, which is lunch. And, for the rest of the day, they live off bread and drinks."

The men can shower but they have to wash their clothes by hand and are unable to leave the departure and duty-free areas, he added.

“They have limited access to medical care (and) no support for their mental health which is important considering their precarious situation," he said.

Apparently, partial mobilization" of Russian citizens to fight against Ukraine, led to angry protests and prompted a mass exodus. Many even tried to flee the country. As per collective data, reported by CNN, more than 200,000 people fled Russia for Georgia, Kazakhstan and the European Union in the first week itself. 

In Russia, men up to the age of 60 with no criminal record are eligible for military conscription. Only those convicted of sex crimes against minors, treason, spying or terrorism are exempted from conscription.

Soldiers who refuse to fight and return to the front line were held in basements in occupied Ukrainian territory and faced charges of desertion, their families have claimed. 

Citing their reason is extremely justified, Lee told CNN, their refusal to serve in the Russian military “should be recognized as a political reason" considering that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “condemned by international law,". 

Rights groups have called on the South Korean government to accept the men as refugees.“Those who apply for refugee status upon escaping political and religious persecution from their home countries have rights to protection under international law," read a statement from a South Korean rights advocacy group.

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