- Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the partial mobilization of his country’s reservists.
- Tickets to destinations such as Istanbul and Yerevan are sold out according to his address.
- A 30-year-old Russian living in the UK told the BBC his friends were desperate to leave the country.
Some plane tickets from Russia were sold out after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization on Wednesday.
In a rare address to the nation, Putin announced an immediate partial mobilization as part of the next phase of his ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The announcement led to prices for some flight tickets from Moscow selling out, according to Reuters and Russian media outlet RBC.
Flights to countries where Russians can still travel without a visa, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Serbia, appear to be in high demand.
Russian state-owned airline Aeroflot will no longer offer flights from Moscow to Istanbul, Turkey, for the next three days, according to its website.
Aeroflot flights to Yerevan, Armenia, from the Russian capital are also sold out through the weekend, the website said.
The airline did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Russian travel search platform Aviasales has revealed that tickets for flights departing to Istanbul, Yerevan and Belgrade, Serbia on Wednesday are no longer available, according to its website.
Aviasales is Russia’s most popular website for buying flights. Google Trends data shortly after the announcement showed a surge in searches for the site, Reuters reported.
Jason Corcoran, journalist in Moscow, Russia, tweeted Wednesday: “As a senior reserve officer, my brother-in-law would have been the first to be mobilized in Putin’s meat grinder.”
“I’m so glad he’s already fled to Turkey as I suspect it’s too late for others to bother chasing tickets,” he added.
After Putin’s speech on Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 Russians would be called up as part of the mobilization.
Only Russians with previous military experience will be mobilized, Shoigu said, adding that conscripts and students are not yet drafted.
The contracts of soldiers already fighting in Ukraine will also be extended, according to the decree signed by Putin on Wednesday, according to The Guardian.
A 30-year-old Russian living in the UK told the BBC after Putin’s announcement: “I also chat with my friends who are in Russia – they also check all the news and telegram channels to see if they are allowed in Russia.” to leave today or tomorrow.
“It’s hard to imagine what this mobilization can also mean for the people in Ukraine. I’m deeply ashamed of my country. I don’t want this war.”
It is unclear how many Russians have left the country since Putin’s invasion began on February 24.
The EU banned air travel out of the country after the invasion, but many Russians are still finding ways to enter the EU, including overland through some countries.
Four of the five EU countries that border Russia – Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – began turning Russians away from their lands this week as part of a series of sanctions, Reuters reported.