Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that there would be a mobilization of citizens being forced to enter the military so that there could be an escalation in the war with Ukraine. What resulted was a massive exodus of the Russian people attempting to leave the country and some huge demonstrations in the streets.
Putin said in the speech that there would be a partial mobilization of the military and both reservists and ex-military with certain specialties and experience would be subject to conscription.
According to the Russian online newspaper Lenta, flights to Armenia, Turkey, and Georgia sold out quickly. The publication’s Twitter page had this caption, “All tickets for direct flights to Istanbul and Yerevan were sold out in a few minutes after Putin’s address.” The page also had screenshots of information on how tickets could not be booked.
One John Hopkins University scholar noted that the costs of flights started to skyrocket when a speech from Putin was just announced. It set Moscow spinning with anxiety. The scholar known as, E Rosalie L, wrote on her Twitter page, “For a hypothetical family of three (let’s say a mom, a dad, and an adult son), a flight from Moscow to Istanbul is now approaching $3,200. Depending on the destination or carrier that price can go even higher. The average for this particular flight appears to be half of the current going rate.”
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After Putin gave the speech, Russia’s railway system began to experience difficulties according to one website. Putin maintains that the escalation is necessary to protect the “sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia.”
This move comes on the heels of Ukrainian forces making huge advances in what has become a major counteroffensive in the northeast of the country.
Volodymyr Havrylov, the Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister, said that the war was not about numbers, it was about technological superiority. He noted that continued western military support was a requirement for their victory.
Putin also made some threats to the West in his speech for supporting Ukraine in the war. He reignited deep concern that he might use a nuclear strike.
“If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff,” he said.
He also noted that Russia had lots of weapons to reply to the aggressive threats from Western nations. Russia has been under heavy sanctions since they invaded Ukraine back at the beginning of February.
Putin spoke directly to those who were trying to “blackmail” Russia with nuclear weapons saving that the “winds can also turn in their direction.”
People are not only trying to get out of Russia, but protests have broken out in parts of the nation. There were dozens of people with signs protesting in Irkutsk in Siberia and Ulan-Ude in Russia’s the Far East. Demonstrations were also reported in Khabarovsk and Yakutsk.
Signs with the protesters have contained a play on words to turn “no war, no mobilization” to “no war, no grave-ization.”
In Irkutsk, according to the Irkutsk Anarchist Telegram channel, authorities have already dispersed rallies and detained several people.
There is one video of a protester shouting back at police in Lenin Square shared on the Telegram ACT-54 Black channel. It shows a person shouting “I am not going to die for Putin and for you. You yourself know that everything sucks.” The people around the man are clapping in support of his protest.
Another part of Putin’s mobilization order extends indefinitely to Russian soldiers already fighting in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu said that he intends to add another 300,000 troops to the war.
Russia is making it known to all who are fighting the mobilization that they could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.