Flights swarm out of Russia as costs skyrocket after Putin speech | World | News

Thousands of planes have been spotted on flight radars swarming out of Russia as the people of Russia appear to be fleeing the autocratic regime. Airfare prices have soared to luscious sums, in some cases five times the average monthly salary, amid fears that men of fighting age would soon be banned from leaving Russia following President Putin’s announcement on Wednesday. Online data trends also showed a seismic surge in searches for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular flight booking site. Elsewhere, the Nordic states reported increased activity within their Russian borders as people try to escape the regime.

Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, where travel does not require a visa, sold out on Wednesday.

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Turkish Airlines reported that all flights from Moscow to Istanbul are booked until Sunday.

Standard airfares for a trip from Russia to Turkey more than tripled in just over a week, with Putin’s announcement believed to be the main catalyst, according to Google Flight data.

Certain routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, were also unavailable.

The cheapest flights to Dubai, another popular destination for Russians, cost more than 300,000 rubles (£4,400) – about five times the average monthly wage.

President Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists in an address to the nation on Wednesday morning.

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Alongside a lecture on nuclear threats from the West and attempts to blame foreign aggression for the invasion of Ukraine, Putin called on the Russian people to support the “military special operation”.

The move was widely belittled by Western leaders, many of whom said it was a sign Putin is panicking after recent failures in the east.

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Meanwhile, in Finland, traffic arriving at the country’s eastern border with Russia “intensified” during the night, Finnish border guards said early Thursday, adding that the situation is under control.

Finland is closely monitoring the situation in its neighboring country following President Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization order, Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said on Wednesday.

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“The number has definitely increased,” said Matti Pitkaniitty, head of international affairs at the Finnish Border Guard.

He said 4,824 Russians arrived in Finland via the eastern border on Wednesday, up from 3,133 a week earlier.

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