Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest war chess move has his citizens scrambling for plane flights out of the country. Flights out of Moscow to the capitals of Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia have reportedly sold out.
Seemingly acting upon this development, the Kremlin has reportedly ordered Russian airlines to stop selling tickets out of the capital to men aged 18 to 65 unless they have the approval of the Ministry of Defense.
In a rare instance, the Russian leader addressed the nation to announce the enforcement of a partial military mobilization, calling on reservists and with military service experience to augment his forces in the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu estimated around 300,000 Russians would be part of the mobilization. They will receive their military training before deployment.
Following the announcement, plane tickets out of Russia have sold out fast. According to its website, state-owned airline Aeroflot has no more flights from Moscow to Istanbul in the next three days and to Yerevan until the weekend. Russian travel search platform Aviasales has also its website reporting that tickets from Russia’s capital to these locations, as well as Belgrade, are no longer available.
Come noon the day of Putin’s announcement, flights from Moscow to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan are also reportedly not available on the website.
Following the Western sanctions, most of the global community have put a ban in place from allowing Russians to enter their borders. These include the immediate countries that share the border with Russia— Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Russians are left with “friendly” countries that allow visa-less entrants, including the sold-out destinations Turkey, Armenia, and Serbia.
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