clearn.png
Friday January 27th, 2023 7:58PM

Russians rush for flights out amid partial reservist call-up

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Large numbers of Russians rushed to book one-way tickets out of the country while they still could Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of military reservists for the war in Ukraine.

Flights filled up quickly and the prices of tickets for remaining connections skyrocketed, apparently driven by fears that Russia's borders could soon close or that Putin could later announce a broader call-up that might send many Russian men of fighting age to the war's front lines.

Tickets for the Moscow-Belgrade flights operated by Air Serbia, the only European carrier besides Turkish Airlines to maintain flights to Russia despite a European Union flight embargo, quickly sold out for the next several days. The price for flights from Moscow to Istanbul or Dubai increased within minutes before jumping again, reaching as high as 9,200 euros ($9,119) for a one-way economy class fare.

Putin's decree stipulates that the amount of people called to active duty will be determined by the Defense Ministry. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a televised interview that 300,000 reservists with relevant combat and service experience initially would be mobilized.

Russia has seen a marked exodus of citizens since Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine almost seven months ago. During Putin's address to the nation Wednesday in which he announced the partial mobilization of reservists, he also issued a veiled nuclear threat to Russia's enemies in the West.

Reports of panic spreading among Russians soon flooded social networks. Anti-war groups said the limited airplane tickets out of Russia reached enormous prices due to high demand and swiftly became unavailable. Social networks in Russian surged with advice on how to avoid the mobilization or leave the country.

Some postings alleged people already had been turned back from Russia's land border with Georgia and that the website of the state Russian railway company had collapsed because too many people were checking for ways out of the country.

The OVD-Info monitoring group said over 800 Russians were arrested Wednesday in anti-war protests in 37 Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. Protesters in Moscow chanted “No to war!” and “Life to our children!”

Russian officials sought to calm the public, stressing that the call-up would affect a limited number of people fitting certain criteria. However, conflicting statements and a lack of details helped fuel the panic.

The head of the Duma's defense committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said there would be no additional restrictions on reservists leaving Russia based on this mobilization. But he also advised individuals who could be eligible for the call-up against “traveling to resorts in Turkey.”

“Spend your vacation at the resorts of Crimea or (Russia’s southern) Krasnodar region,” Russian media quoted Kartapolov as saying.

A group based in Serbia, called Russians, Belarussians, Ukrainians and Serbs Together Against War, tweeted that there were no available flights to Belgrade from Russia until mid-October. Flights to Turkey, Georgia or Armenia also sold out, according to the Belgrade-based group.

“All the Russians who wanted to go to war already went,” the group said. “No one else wants to go there!”

One Russian man named Sergey said he had prepared for a Russian mobilization scenario and quickly brought his 17-year-old son out of Russia.

“The tickets didn’t cost too much, as I was probably quick enough. And we got through the border just fine,” he said upon arriving Wednesday at the airport in the Armenian capital of Yerevan.

His son, Nikolai, said, “I haven’t gotten a letter from the recruitment office yet” but he was still researching possible exemptions, “so we left.” They declined to give their last names.

Serbia's capital of Belgrade has become a popular destination for Russians during the war. Up to 50,000 Russians have fled to Serbia since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and many have opened businesses, especially in the IT sector.

Russians don’t need visas to enter Serbia, which has not joined Western sanctions against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. Allies such as Belarus and China also have not imposed sanctions on Russia.

A Wednesday flight from Moscow to Belgrade was packed with young Russian men who said they could not speak to reporters because they feared negative repercussions for the families they left behind. A Russian woman, who identified herself as Yulia, said she, too, was afraid “my government and police” might see her remarks.

“But I want to say, ‘Freedom for Ukraine.’ Please, somebody stop Putin,” she said.

___

AP Writers Jovana Gec, Dasha Litvinova and Julia Rubin contributed to this story.

___

Follow AP's coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden: Russia 'shamelessly violated' UN Charter in Ukraine
President Joe Biden is declaring that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets” of the United Nations charter with its “brutal, needless war” in Ukraine
12:19PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Milan Fashion Week hears calls for more designer diversity
The Milan Fashion Week opening Wednesday celebrates perhaps its most diverse season ever
12:17PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Putin orders partial military call-up, risking protests
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, effective immediately
12:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fendi, Diesel open Milan Fashion Week with sense of renewal
Milan Fashion Week opened Wednesday with a sense of renewal
11:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Fiona grows into Category 4 storm, heads toward Bermuda
Hurricane Fiona has strengthened into a Category 4 storm  after lashing the Turks and Caicos Islands and devastating Puerto Rico
11:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
Amnesty says Egypt trying to cover up rights violations
Amnesty International has accused Egypt of attempting to cover up  “unrelenting violations of human rights" ahead of the Arab country's hosting of the world climate summit
11:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
US home sales slipped, prices grew more slowly in August
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed in August for the seventh month in a row, as sharply higher mortgage rates and rising home prices made homebuying less affordable
11:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
Wall Street CEOs appear on Capitol Hill as election looms
In what has become an annual ritual, the CEOs of the major U.S. banks are appearing in front of Congress this week, to sell themselves as shepherds of a helpful industry at a time of financial and economic distress for many Americans
11:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
Walmart takes a cautious approach to holiday hiring
Walmart is taking a cautious approach to the holiday shopping season, announcing it will hire 40,000 U.S. workers for the holidays, a majority of them seasonal workers
11:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Germany nationalizes country's biggest gas importer Uniper
The German government says it's agreed to nationalize the country’s biggest natural gas importer, Uniper, expanding state intervention in the industry to prevent an energy shortage resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine
7:23AM ( 5 hours ago )
Australian Indigenous traditional owners halt gas drilling
Indigenous traditional owners have won a court challenge that prevents an energy company from drilling for gas off Australia’s north coast
4:59AM ( 7 hours ago )
Family sues Little League over bunk bed fall, head injury
A Utah boy who suffered a serious head injury after falling from a bunk bed during last month’s Little League World Series has returned home from the hospital and his family is suing the league and the company that made the bed
8:41PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Biden: Russia 'shamelessly violated' UN Charter in Ukraine
President Joe Biden is declaring that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets” of the United Nations charter with its “brutal, needless war” in Ukraine
12:19PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Milan Fashion Week hears calls for more designer diversity
The Milan Fashion Week opening Wednesday celebrates perhaps its most diverse season ever
12:17PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Putin orders partial military call-up, risking protests
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, effective immediately
12:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
NY attorney general sues Donald Trump and his company
New York’s attorney general sued former President Donald Trump and his company on Wednesday, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D
12:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Home Depot workers petition to form 1st store-wide union
Home Depot workers in Philadelphia have filed a petition with the federal labor board to form what could be the first store-wide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer
12:04PM ( 37 minutes ago )