After Putin ordered the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine, flights from Russia skyrocketed in price and sold out quickly.
After President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine, one-way tickets from Russia skyrocketed in price and are selling out quickly.
Putin’s announcement, made in a televised address early Wednesday morning, raised concerns that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the call-up would be limited to those with professional military experience, not students or conscripts.
The Kremlin declined to comment on whether borders would be closed to those subject to mobilization orders, urging people to be patient until the law was clarified.
Data from Google Trends showed that requests to leave Russia were searched 100 times more often in the morning than usual.
Searches for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular flight booking site, also surged.
Direct flights from Moscow, where Russians can enter without a visa, to Istanbul, Turkey and Yerevan, Armenia sold out on Wednesday, according to Aviasales data.
The flights from Moscow to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines were either fully booked or unavailable until Sunday at 14:15 Moscow time (11:15 GMT).
Some routes with stopovers, such as the one from Moscow to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, are also not available, and the cheapest flight to Dubai is over 300,000 rubles ($5,000), which is about five times the average monthly income. .
According to Google Flights data, a typical one-way fare to Turkey has jumped to almost 70,000 rubles ($1,150) compared to just over 22,000 rubles a week ago.
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines said on its website that flights to Istanbul, an important travel hub to and from Russia, are fully booked until Saturday.
The next available Air Serbia flight to Belgrade was posted on 26 September.
The head of Russia’s tourism agency said no restrictions have been imposed on foreign travel so far.
Aeroflot, the country’s flag carrier, said it was not restricting ticket sales.
Flights between Russia and the EU have been shut down after Putin launched what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The start of the fighting has raised fears among Russians that martial law could be imposed, and has seen the exodus of tens of thousands of people to Russia’s neighboring countries.
In a speech on Wednesday, Putin said his promise to use all military means in Ukraine was “not a bluff” and implied that Moscow was ready to use nuclear weapons.
His mobilization request comes as Moscow-controlled regions of Ukraine prepare to hold an annexation referendum this week, allowing Moscow to accuse Ukraine of attacking Russian territory. , dramatically raised the stakes of the seven-month dispute.