Moscow: After Russian Vladimir Putin called for additional troops to fight Ukraine, one-way flights out of Russia are rocketing upward in price and are selling out fast. This comes amid raising fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country and may be sent to the frontlines. According to a New York Times report, tickets for countries like Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Armenia, where Russians can travel without visas, have sold out or become extremely expensive.
How to Leave Russia
On September 21, there were reportedly no one-way tickets available from Moscow to Istanbul or Yerevan — the capital of Armenia. Flightradar 24, a Swedish service that provides real-time flight tracking information, shared a time-lapse video showing a flurry of flights out of Moscow and St Petersburg.
Flights departing Moscow and St. Petersburg today. The @AP is reporting international flights departing Russia have either sold out or skyrocketed in price after Putin announced a mobilization of reservists.
Search SVO, VKO, DME for Moscow airports and LED for St. Petersburg. pic.twitter.com/LV2PrkwPD9
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 21, 2022
Flights from Moscow to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines were either all booked or unavailable until Sunday, as of 14:15 Moscow time (11:15 GMT). Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights to Dubai cost more than 300,000 roubles ($5,000) – about five times the average monthly wage.
Typical one-way fares to Turkey shot up to almost 70,000 roubles ($1,150), compared with a little more than 22,000 roubles a week ago, Google Flights data shows. Turkish Airlines, meanwhile, said on its website that flights to Istanbul, which has become an important travel hub to and from Russia, were fully booked until Saturday. The next available AirSerbia flight to Belgrade was posted for September 26.
Putin Orders Partial Mobilization
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists Wednesday to bolster his forces in Ukraine, a deeply unpopular move that sparked rare protests across the country and led to almost 1,200 arrests.
The risky order follows humiliating setbacks for Putin’s troops nearly seven months after they invaded Ukraine. The first such call-up in Russia since World War II heightened tensions with Ukraine’s Western backers, who derided it as an act of weakness and desperation.
In his 14-minute nationally televised address, Putin also warned the West that he isn’t bluffing about using everything at his disposal to protect Russia — an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal. He has previously rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to Ukraine. Confronted with steep battlefield losses, expanding front lines, and a conflict that has raged longer than expected, the Kremlin has struggled to replenish its troops in Ukraine, reportedly even resorting to widespread recruitment in prisons.