One-way flights out of Russia were selling out and climbing in price after President Vladimir Putin called for a draft of 300,000 reservists in a televised address on Wednesday.

Putin drafts 300,000 reservists and makes nuclear threats

The news: Google Trends showed an uptick in searches for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular site for booking flights.

  • Flights from Moscow to Istanbul, Turkey, and Yerevan, Armenia — both cities that allow Russians to enter with no visa — were sold out on Wednesday, according to Aviasales data.
  • Flights from Moscow to Istanbul were also sold out with Turkish Airlines and would not beavailable until Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.
  • Even flights from Moscow with layovers in Tbilisi, Georgia, were sold out, according to Reuters.
  • Ticket prices from Russia to Turkey tripled in price on Wednesday, according to Google Flights data.
  • Before selling out, flights from Moscow to Istanbul and Dubai skyrocketed to around $9,000, per The Associated Press. Normally, flight prices between these destinations sit at around $1,000.
  • Russia’s railway company’s website also crashed on Wednesday due to an influx of people searching for ways out of the country, NPR reported.

Will people be allowed to leave Russia? As of Wednesday, the Russian government has not said whether or not Russia’s borders would be closed to those affected by the draft, per Al Jazeera.

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Who will be drafted? Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Minister of Defense, said that the draft only applies to Russians with previous experience as professional soldiers and that students and conscripts were exempt.

  • Putin states that this mobilization is “necessary and urgent,” claiming that the West had “crossed all lines” by supplying Ukraine with weaponry, said The New York Times.
  • “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and some components are more modern than those of the NATO countries,” Putin said.
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