A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation to call up as many as 3,00,000 reservists to active duty to bolster his manpower-depleted military fighting in Ukraine, media reports emerged late on Wednesday that airlines have been instructed not to sell any more tickets to men of military age, barring evidence of approval to travel from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
#BREAKING: Social media accounts in Russia: Russian Railways and airlines are refusing to sell tickets to men 18-65 years of age
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) September 21, 2022
According to Aviasales, Russia’s most widely-used website for flight bookings, direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul or Yerevan in Armenia, both destinations that do not require visas for Russians, were already sold out by Wednesday afternoon — hours after Putin’s live address.
Reportedly, the number of searches for “how to leave Russia” on Google is soaring in the country.
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.
Aviasales also has its website reporting that tickets from Russia’s capital to these locations, as well as Belgrade, are no longer available.
Mere hours after Putin’s announcement, flights from Moscow to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan are also reportedly not available on the website.
Following sanctions, most Western nations have put a ban in place barring Russians from enter their borders. These include countries that share land borders with Russia— Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.