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As aircraft tickets and border crossings rise, draft-age Russians leave.

Draft-eligible Russians have begun to depart the nation as the country begins its largest conscription push since the Second World War, with plane ticket prices rising beyond $5,000 (£4,443) and border crossings rising.

Vladimir Putin began a new mobilization effort to recruit hundreds of thousands for the seven-month-old war that has already destroyed cities, killed thousands, displaced millions, and harmed the global economy.

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin launched a new mobilization drive for the seven-month-old conflict in Ukraine, which has already destroyed towns, killed thousands, displaced millions, and harmed the global economy.

As aircraft tickets and border crossings rise, draft-age russians leave.
As aircraft tickets and border crossings rise, draft-age russians leave.

Owing in part to the government’s intensive propaganda, public opinion polls in Russia indicate widespread support for Moscow’s “special military operation.” However, the fear of mass conscription has prompted residents to flee and protests throughout the country.

The majority of one-way flights from Moscow to the closest international destinations are sold out for the upcoming days, with some tickets priced at over $5,000 (£4,443)

A source in the tourism business stated, “This is panic demand from people who are frightened they won’t be able to leave the country later; they are buying tickets regardless of where they travel to.”

Additionally, traffic has increased at the border crossings with Finland and Georgia.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a news conference on Thursday that the Finnish government is examining methods to drastically restrict Russian tourism and transit through Finland.

After several Western nations closed their land borders and airspace to Russian aircraft, the Finnish land border crossings remained among the remaining entrance points for Russians into Europe.

Finland chose to maintain its border with Russia open during Moscow’s invasion on February 24, while reducing the number of visa appointments available to Russian travelers.

The ‘intensification’ of border traffic during the night

At approximately 1:15 p.m., at the Vaalimaa border crossing, approximately three hours’ drive from Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, three lanes of cars each stretched for 300 to 400 meters (yards). local time (10:15 GMT), an official at the border told Reuters.

“Traffic at the Finnish-Russian border increased during the night,” tweeted the head of international affairs for the border patrol, Matti Pitkaniitty. He told Reuters that the nine checkpoints had prepared border patrol agents.

Although traffic from Russia was heavier than usual, border guards stated in a statement that it had not changed “alarmingly” compared to pre-pandemic days.

Monday at midnight, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, the four EU nations bordering Russian territory, began refusing entry to Russian residents, stating that they should not travel while their country is at war with Ukraine.

The ministers of the three Baltic states stated on Wednesday that they will not grant asylum to any Russians fleeing Moscow’s mobilization of troops.

On Wednesday, more than 1,300 people were arrested at anti-war demonstrations in 38 Russian towns.

According to independent news sources, some detainees were instructed to report to enrollment offices on Thursday, the first full day of conscription.

There are further rallies scheduled for this weekend.

“Now, owing to mobilization, for the vast majority of Russian civilians, Russia’s war on Ukraine is not something on TV or the internet, but something that has invaded every Russian household,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Thursday night video message.

Citing the Russian General Staff, Russia stated that claims of a large exodus were overblown, and official news outlets claimed on Thursday that 10,000 people had volunteered to fight before receiving their call-up papers.

Intentions to annex Ukraine, as well as a nuclear threat

Mr. Putin effectively declared plans to invade four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday, with referendums beginning on Friday, and warned to employ nuclear weapons if necessary.

The ballots have been widely criticized as “sham referendums” by the international world, with NATO declaring them “illegal and illegitimate.”

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that nuclear war talk was “completely unacceptable” and that any attempt to grab land would violate international law.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned the United Nations Security Council, “The very international system we’ve convened here to protect is crumbling before our eyes.”

We cannot let President Putin off the hook.

In his speech, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine of “brazenly assaulting” the rights of Russians and Russian speakers.

Later, he left a United Nations conference as allies criticized Russia for the war.

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