Russian President Vladimir Putin is desperate, and he’s making Russians more desperate. After Putin announced a mobilization of 300,000 military reservists to fight in his invasion of Ukraine, Russians rushed to buy airline tickets to flee the failing autocracy, Reuters reports.
Tickets for direct flights to Istanbul, Turkey and Yerevan, Armenia–two destinations that don’t require Russians to have a visa–quickly sold out after Putin’s announcement Wednesday. The cost for ticket to Istanbul shot up more than 300% overnight. Prices for tickets to other foreign destinations also shot up: the cheapest single one-way ticket to Dubai hit $5,000 ($300,000).
According to air travel news website AirLive, the Kremlin has barred men between the ages of 18 to 65 from purchasing airline tickets to anywhere without prior authorization from Russia’s Ministry of Defense. On Russia’s most popular travel booking website, sales of tickets from Moscow to destinations like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have been stopped.