• Monday, October 03, 2022

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After Putin’s ‘partial mobilisation’ call, Russian airlines stop selling tickets to people in fighting age group

Russian president Vladimir Putin

By: Shubham Ghosh

Flights leaving Russia saw almost full bookings after president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will mobilise reservists to fight in the ongoing war in Ukraine. On Wednesday (21), tickets for direct flights going to neighbouring countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan were sold out, Aviasales, a popular website in Russia, showed.

Turkish Airlines said on its website that its flights to Istanbul, a key travel hub to and from Russia, were fully booked until Saturday (24).

Amid such developments, several news outlets and journalists said on Twitter that Russian airlines stopped selling tickets to Russian men aged between 18 and 65 (fighting age) amid apprehensions that martial laws could be imposed.

Putin made his announcement in a televised address in Russian on Wednesday.

He said (translated in English), “In such a situation, I consider it necessary to make the following decision, which is fully appropriate to threats we face. Namely, in order to protect our motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the defence ministry and the General Staff to conduct a partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation.”

“We are talking about partial mobilisation. That is, only citizens who are currently in the reserves and, above all, those who have served in the armed forces, have military skills and relevant experience. Only they will be subject to conscription.”

An activist holds a single-person picket in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin in central Moscow on September 22, 2022. A poster rephrases a Soviet WWII slogan – “Everything for the Front! Everything for the Victory!”. -President Putin called up Russian military reservists on September 21, saying his promise to use all military means in Ukraine was “no bluff,” and hinting that Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons. His mobilisation call comes as Moscow-held regions of Ukraine prepare to hold annexation referendums this week, dramatically upping the stakes in the seven-month conflict by allowing Moscow to accuse Ukraine of attacking Russian territory. (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Fortune said in a report that only the young men who have received approval from Russia’s defence ministry will be allowed to exit the country.

Following the president’s address, Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu said 300,000 men could be called up for service.

While Moscow’s military activism in Ukraine has been going on for more than six months now and has caused significant deaths and displacement, Putin has refused to pause and has also accused the West of “blackmail and intimidation”.

Reports have said that Russia is now desperately trying to recruit people, even convicts, to join the war in Ukraine. Prisoners have been promised a presidential pardon after six months and a monthly salary of 100,000 rubles (£1,490), The Guardian reported, saying the recruitments are being carried out by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of a mercenary outfit known as the Wagner Group.

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