The number of Russians attempting to leave the country via air or land has risen sharply following President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of the “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens to bolster his depleted forces in Ukraine.
Travel agency websites in Russia showed a dramatic increase on Wednesday in the demand for flights to destinations where Russians are not required to have a visa. 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.