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: Putin’s partial draft announcement appears to spark scramble to leave Russia as flights fill up

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Some flights out of Russia appeared to be selling out in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a partial military mobilization to buttress the country’s war effort in Ukraine.

It was reported that some 300,000 reservists — limited to those with relevant combat and service experience, according to Russia’s defense minister — will be called up to active duty.

On the Turkish Airlines website, a search for one-way flights from Moscow to Istanbul showed flight availability on Wednesday, then not again until Sunday, with tickets costing 81,071 rubles ($1,322). By next Tuesday, that same flight was priced at 169,704 rubles.

Flights to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, as well as to Istanbul (both Turkey and Armenia allow visa-free travel for Russians), also appeared to be sold out on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing data from Aviasales, sometimes described as Russia’s answer to Expedia. Media reports indicated that the cost of many flights had jumped.

No flights from Moscow to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were available, according to the Reuters report, which also noted that the least costly flights to Dubai were running more than 300,000 rubles.

According to Google Trends, searches for Aviasales spiked on Wednesday.

Putin made no specific announcement about border closures or restrictions on travel.

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In his announcement Wednesday about the mobilization of 300,000 Russian reservists with relevant combat and service experience, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that number represented only 1% of the roughly 25 million people who fit the necessary criteria.

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