Russians have been scrambling to get their hands dirty and hastily bought one-way plane tickets out of the country after President Vladimir Putin said he would deploy citizens to Ukraine to fight his war on Wednesday morning.
Putin and military officials said in a nationally televised address that up to 300,000 reservists would be immediately drafted to fight in the unprovoked invasion, after the warring country lost ground in Ukraine in recent counterattacks. -attacks.
The dictator also warned NATO that he would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons, warning that Russia has “various means of destruction” and that it “will use all means at its disposal” if “the territorial integrity” of Russia is under threat.
Two hours after the speech, Google searches for “how to break an arm at home” had skyrocketed nationwide, rapidly rising from a score of 0 to 38 out of 100 in the search engine’s trending data, according to Newsweek.
Google data also showed a surge in searches on Aviasales, the country’s most popular flight booking site, as Russians raced on plane tickets out of the country.
Direct flights and layover routes from Moscow to Turkey and Armenia – where Russians can enter visa-free – were fully booked until Sunday, according to Aviasales.
The cheapest flights to Dubai had climbed in value to $5,000 – or about 300,000 rubles – on Wednesday, a trend that accelerated as the day progressed.
“It used to be possible to buy a one-way ticket in the morning for 200,000 rubles to 300,000 rubles, but not anymore,” a source explained.
The Kremlin had not said whether conscripts would be banned from international travel, and no restrictions were in place in the hours after the announcement of the drastic military measures, according to the Russian tourism agency.
Hundreds of people were arrested across the country in the hours following the announcement of the military decree, according to independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info. Anti-war protests and independent war reporting were made illegal in Russia earlier this year.
The mobilization is the first in Russia since World War II and comes after upstart Ukrainian forces retook Kharkiv province, made inroads into Luhansk and forced a Russian retreat in recent weeks, scoring embarrassing defeats for the Russian military much more important.
Russian-backed separatists announced on Tuesday that they would hold annexation referendums in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia which they currently occupy or partially occupy as Russia seeks to consolidate its grip on the regions of east and south.
Ukraine and its allies – including the United States – have signaled that any election held would be a heavily manipulated wacky competition that would not justify expanding Russia’s borders westward or stepping up action. military.
The move is reminiscent of the fictitious vote she used to justify the “illegal” annexation of Crimea in 2014, observers said.
Putin launched war on Ukraine in February to reclaim the former republic from the Soviet Union and stifle the independent country’s ambitions to join NATO. He falsely told his people that his propaganda-laden “special military operation” had been deployed to save Ukraine from the Nazis.
The United Nations Human Rights Office valued earlier this month that more than 14,000 Ukrainian civilian casualties had been recorded while warning that the true number was “probably considerably higher”.
With post wires