Flight sales websites in Russia indicate that all direct flights to countries that do not require Russian visas are sold out through Friday at least.
Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul, Yerevan in Armenia and Baku in Azerbaijan are among those that are full, according to ticket aggregator websites.
According to Google Trends, the term “leaving Russia” saw a sharp spike in searches among Russians over the past 24 hours.
Google Trends data also showed a sharp rise in Russians searching for “Aviasales” — a leading Russian flight sales engine. The number had quadrupled in 24 hours with most searches coming from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to Aviasales ticket aggregator, one-way tickets on Friday out of Moscow to Istanbul are starting at $2,715 per ticket. Before President Putin’s mobilization announcement, the tickets cost about $350.
Russian state carrier Aeroflot’s website showed that all economy class tickets to Armenia are sold out until September 28.
Aeroflot said in a statement: “Due to inquiries from passengers and the media, we would like to inform you that Aeroflot Group airlines are operating as usual. There are no restrictions on ticket sales.”
The spike in demand for flights out of the country followed Putin’s speech on Wednesday morning, an intervention which threatened to escalate his faltering invasion of Ukraine. The “partial mobilization” of citizens means those who are in the reserve could be called up, and those with military experience would be subject to conscription, Putin said.
The Russian president announced the “partial mobilization” in a speech on Wednesday.
While Putin’s speech on Wednesday has serious implications for parts of the Russian population, it also sent further warning shots to the West. The President said he would use “all the means at our disposal,” and even raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons, if he deemed Russia’s “territorial integrity” to be threatened.