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Flights out of Russia sell out fast after Putin’s mobilisation announcement

One-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists.

Putin’s announcement, made in an early-morning television address, raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave Russia.

#Russians hurriedly buy direct tickets to #Yerevan, #Tbilisi, and #Istanbul.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 21, 2022

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the call-up would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers, and that students and those who had only served as conscripts would not be called up.

Russians looking for flights en mass

Nevertheless, Google Trends data showed a spike in searches for Aviasales, which is Russia’s most popular website for finding flights.

Google trends screenshot Photo: TVP World

Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, both destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were sold out on Wednesday, according to Aviasales data.

Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights from the capital to Dubai were costing more than 300,000 roubles (EUR 5,000).

Opposition to protest mobilisation

Russian opposition on Wednesday called for protests against Putin after he ordered the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists.

The #Russian anti-war movement “Vesna” calls for protests against the mobilization. Rallies are announced for 7 p.m. in the center of all Russian cities.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 21, 2022

The Russian dictator stated that an urgent decision was required to protect people in the “liberated lands”.

#Russia’s President #Vladimir #Putin gave a televised speech announcing “partial mobilisation” in Russia for the country’s military campaign in #Ukraine.

— TVP World (@TVPWorld_com) September 21, 2022

According to British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace “Putin’s breaking of his own promises not to mobilise parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, are an admission that his invasion is failing.”

He added that “no amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine continues its counter-offensive.

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