The price for one-way flight tickets out of Russia surged Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists to bolster Moscow’s forces in Ukraine.
The price for a one-way economy-class flight from Moscow to Istanbul or Dubai shot up to as high as 561,730 rubles ($9,119) in the hours following Putin’s announcement, according to NPR. The tickets, however, have sold out for this week, as per a schedule from Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline.
Direct flights to other visa-free destinations, including Yerevan in Armenia and Almaty in Kazakhstan, are also either sold out for the next few days or their prices have soared.
Tickets for routes with stopovers, such as Moscow to Tbilisi, Georgia, were also sold out. One-way fares from Moscow to Turkey shot up to over 163,000 rubles ($2,648). In comparison, the price of a direct flight from Russia to Turkey was only a little over 22,000 rubles ($357), according to Google Flights data.
The spike in demand for flights out of Russia comes after Putin on Wednesday morning announced a “partial mobilization” of citizens for the war in Ukraine. The president said Russians with military experience could also be subject to conscription.
“Today our Armed Forces are operating on the contact line that exceeds 1,000 kilometers, confronting not only neo-Nazi units, but in fact the entire war machine of the collective west,” Putin said in his speech, as transcripted by Mediazona.
“In this light, I consider it necessary to take the following decision which is fully appropriate considering the threats we face. Namely, in order to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the security of our people and the people in the liberated territories, I believe it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff to hold a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later added that Moscow would initially call up 300,000 reservists. He reiterated that only those with combat and service experience will be mobilized.
Almost immediately after the announcement, men across Russia — most of whom were reservists under the age of 35 — began receiving notices. Other men had their identity documents checked on the street and ordered to appear for a health check, as first reported by The Washington Post.