The Kremlin on Wednesday reportedly barred Russian airlines from selling tickets to adult men amid an apparent would-be exodus of draft-age citizens looking to escape President Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization.
Within hours of Mr. Putin’s televised address announcing the call-up of as many as 300,000 reservists, the Russian Ministry of Defense barred airlines from selling tickets to males between the ages of 18 and 65, according to the aviation website Airlive.net. Such ticket sales are banned, the website reported, unless the buyer can provide written proof from Russia’s Ministry of Defense showing he is allowed to leave the country.
The move comes on the heels of Russia’s first major military mobilization since World War II. Mr. Putin announced the call-up as Moscow’s war in Ukraine stalls amid a fierce counterattack by Ukrainian forces, who have pushed Russian troops out of key cities such as Kharkiv.
The announcement sparked an immediate run on airline tickets. Direct flights out of Russia to Turkey and Armenia quickly sold out Wednesday, Reuters reported. Those countries do not require a visa for Russian citizens to enter.
Flights to those nations and others reportedly shot up in price immediately after Mr. Putin’s announcement.
Russia’s tourism agency has publicly denied that any restrictions have been imposed on international travel, according to Reuters.