One-way flights out of Moscow are sold out today as terrified Russians rush to leave the nation after Vladimir Putin triggered widespread terror by ordering an army mobilisation in a dramatic escalation of the Ukraine conflict.
The desperate autocrat delivered a scary new threat to deploy nuclear weapons on the West, demanding global leaders to back off Ukraine while admonishing: “I’m not kidding.” He also ordered the call-up of 300,000 military reserves, a first in Russia since the Second World War.
The unexpected action sparked a scramble to leave the country to avoid possible conscription, with the few available flights fetching costs in the tens of thousands of pounds.
All airline tickets to nations where Russians would not need a visa, like as Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia, have reportedly been sold out, while flag carrier Aeroflot is not showing any open flights for today.
Google data previously shown that the cheapest flights from the capital to Dubai cost more than £4,500, which is almost five times the average monthly pay, while a family of three would need to spend £44,000 to go to Johannesburg today in a 45-hour journey with three layovers.
By midday, among the commotion, flights to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan ceased to be advertised online.
According to statistics, around the time Putin’s address was first planned, bus tickets were likewise sold out and Google traffic was dominated by searches for “how to escape Russia.”
Fears were aroused that certain males of fighting age might not be permitted to leave Russia after the tyrant’s pronouncement, which was delivered during an early-morning televised broadcast.
Russian Railways and Aeroflot said that they had not “yet” received a directive to forbid males between the ages of 18 and 65 from boarding.
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian minister of defence for defence, indicated that only individuals with experience as professional soldiers will be called up; students and conscripts would not be called up.
Despite this, the frightening expansion of the conflict has increased concerns of widespread conscription.
‘Mogilisation’, derived from the Russian term ‘оилa’ [Mogila] – meaning grave, the horrible destiny awaiting thousands of those forced into the army – was even coined to depict the nightmare Putin has unleashed.
In the meanwhile, protest, rage, and terror were all permeating Russian social media.
Even a new term, “Mogilization,” which comes from the Russian word “mogila” or “grave,” was created by users to represent the predicted outcome of those hauled away to battle.
One 28-year-old lady from a city hundreds of miles east of the Kremlin, where the Russian president made his tragic TV call-up, expressed her extreme concern for her partner and her young male pals.
“I advocate mobilising the whole Duma [parliament] and their families first,” Lilianna D requested. And let others to see their loyalty.
A buddy from Russia recently messaged, wrote Russian journalist Andrey Shipilov, who lives in Cyprus.
This morning, the [graduates] of an entire institution, all reserve officers, have already been called up.
Putin’s move comes after Ukraine routed a significant portion of the Russian army last week, forcing him into a position he created and perhaps risking the failure of his purported “special military operation.”
Instead of backing down, the Russian leader has decided to press his position and demand money from the free world. This has put Russia and its vast nuclear arsenal on a collision course with Ukraine and its allies, who have already vowed not to accept the results of “fake” referendums or to stop liberating occupied territory.
President Zelensky rejected “noise” from Russia in his remarks before to Putin’s address last night and asserted that it would not change Ukraine’s determination. Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister, also said that “the Russians may do anything they want.” Nothing will be altered by it. Whatever Russia says, Ukraine has every right to free its regions, and it will continue to do so.
After Putin’s declaration this morning, Mykhailo Podolyak, a counsellor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, came out, calling it “predictable” and asserting that it shows the battle is not progressing as expected.
Later today, President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the UN, where he will encourage Ukraine’s friends to continue on their current track.
Podolyak said that mobilisation would be immensely unpopular inside Russia and charged that Putin was attempting to place the responsibility for the country’s economic collapse and “unprovoked conflict” on the West.
Around 300,000 individuals are anticipated to be drafted into the Russian army as a result of the mobilisation, which is almost twice as many as the force Putin used to invade.
However, it is unclear precisely when these personnel will become available, and the action will not address Russia’s persistent shortage of supplies, equipment, and other logistical problems, which have so far meant catastrophe for its invasion.
Putin had held off on making any kind of mobilisation announcement up to this point, ostensibly out of concern about blowback from Russians who could have been backing his “special military operation” mainly because they had nothing to lose.
However, the Russian leader abruptly shifted course following a further humiliating military setback near Kharkiv last week that prompted demands for his resignation. This was due to pressure from allies, propagandists, and hardliners.
He made a point of emphasising that the partial mobilisation would not have an impact on regular people, conscripts, or students. He stressed that only individuals with military and combat experience will be called up to serve, beginning immediately.
Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, spoke after Putin and provided a rare update on Russian fatality counts, absurdly asserting that just 6,000 Kremlin soldiers had been killed in the conflict thus far.
He claimed that the Ukrainian casualties were 10 times more, totaling 61,000 killed and 49,000 injured.
Putin gave his distorted assessment of the current conflict in a speech that was delayed for 13 hours over the course of the previous night, sparking fanciful rumours of a revolt within the Kremlin.
While ordering an invasion of the nation himself just seven months before, he sought to rewrite history to portray the West and NATO as the aggressors, claiming they had forced Ukraine into a conflict with Russia.
He said that Ukraine started the conflict in 2014, the year of Russia’s most recent invasion, when the “Nazi” government in Kyiv sought to commit genocide against its own citizens after staging what he termed a “coup” to remove the nation’s last pro-Kremlin leader.
According to Putin’s version of events, the West “refused a diplomatic settlement” and started arming Ukraine in preparation for an assault on the Donbas, leaving him with no alternative but to start a preemptive war to save the populace.
He wrongly said that Ukraine’s bloodthirsty Western supporters started arming and training its military with the intention of destroying Russia after purposefully undermining peace talks with Kyiv.
He said that despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Ukrainian Nazis and nationalists are responsible for attacks on schools and hospitals.
Putin said that in the face of these dangers, he has no option but to call up his military reserves and to accede to the demands of his puppet leaders in occupied Ukraine to organise referendums on joining Russia.
“The West has crossed all boundaries in its aggressive anti-Russian actions,” he said. Washington and Brussels have plans to expand the military operation into Russian territory.
They are discussing complete pillage of political, cultural, and all other forms of sovereignty in addition to the destruction of Russia on the battlefield. They are currently discussing nuclear blackmail.
“Those who make such claims will be reminded that our nation also has numerous weapons of mass destruction, some of which are even more advanced than those of NATO.
“If there is a threat to the territorial integrity of our nation, we will definitely use all legal means at our disposal to defend our people. I’m not playing a bluff.
“Russian citizens can be confident that our motherland’s territorial integrity, independence, and security will be guaranteed.” I’ll repeat: using every tool at our disposal.
“And those attempting to use nuclear weapons as a kind of blackmail should be aware that the tables might turn on them.”
According to our historical history, it was in the people’s destiny to thwart attempts to conquer our nation, and it will today.
The accusations are a standard piece of Kremlin propaganda and nearly exactly reverse what Russia has been accused of doing.
According to the officials in charge of the occupation by Russia, referendums will start this week and continue into the next week.
There will be no uncertainty about how they will vote since police and authorities will go door to door to make sure people vote.
Additionally, polling places will be established inside of Russia itself, purportedly to provide those who have already departed those areas a chance to vote, but it is likely that these booths would be loaded with forged votes.
Unsurprisingly, preliminary “polling” published by Russian official media last night revealed that more than 80% of residents in the four areas desire to join Russia.
The reported statistic in Putin’s military effort’s focal point of Donetsk and Luhansk was above 90%.
The situation for Russia’s forces is becoming worse as the conflict in Ukraine, which was only supposed to last a few days, is now over seven months old.
The Kremlin’s war machine instead concentrated its efforts on “liberating” the eastern Donbas area after being had to back from Kyiv in the early months of conflict as its progress stagnated.
Russia took control of the whole Luhansk area after months of gruelling fighting, but only around half of the adjacent Donetsk region, which together make up the Donbas.
As Russia’s advances slowed and ultimately halted, Ukraine launched an onslaught against the southern city of Kherson in retaliation.
Russia sent troops from other parts of the nation to assist in the city’s defence, at which time Ukraine began a second counterattack from Kharkiv, in the north, into the east.
The Kremlin’s commanders were entirely unprepared for that action, which set off a defeat that returned to Ukraine in a matter of days 3,000 square kilometres of terrain that Russia had spent months seizing.
Additionally, Kyiv has kept up the offensive, seizing control of the Luhansk area and posing a threat to advance farther throughout the province.
Putin had no choice but to start enlisting men since there weren’t enough soldiers to defend the land he had already taken.
Experts and analysts disagree, saying that it won’t significantly alter the course of the conflict in his favour.
To recruit, equip, train, and transport hundreds of thousands more soldiers to the front lines would take at least weeks, probably months; this is time that Russia does not have.
By the time reinforcements come, winter will have arrived, making combat operations much more difficult and complicating the extremely difficult situation the Russian military is presently in.
Additionally, mobilising additional troops won’t resolve Russia’s persistent shortage of supplies and equipment inside its ranks or resolve the logistical problems that have stymied its assaults.
Some compared it to the devastating Winter War the Soviet Union waged against Finland, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers dying or being injured compared to around 25,000 Finns.
Putin’s words at the UN last night were anticipated by Western leaders, who said they would not accept the outcomes of any “fake” referendums in Ukraine.
“The Russians are free to do as they choose.” As global leaders arrived for the United Nations General Assembly gathering on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba remarked, “It won’t alter anything.
Later, he emphasised the subject once again in a tweet that read: “Sham’referendums’ will not alter anything.” Any hybrid “mobilisation” won’t either.
“Russia has been and is still occupying Ukrainian territory unlawfully.” Whatever Russia says, Ukraine has every right to free its regions, and it will continue to do so.
According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the referendum idea “would be comical if it weren’t so awful.”
He warned that inactivity ran the danger of “tearing down the world order without which peace is not conceivable” and characterised Russia’s incursion as “a return to a new period of imperialism and colonies.”
It is not necessary to choose a side between the North or the South, or between East and West. According to him, it is a question of obligation to the UN Charter.
Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, remarked that after years of optimism after the end of the Cold War and the reunification of his own country, the globe was “facing a new fragmentation.”
After years of optimism after the end of the Cold War and the reunification of his own country, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the globe was “facing a new fragmentation.”
Putin, who invaded Ukraine in February, would “only give up his war and his imperialist goals if he understands he cannot win,” according to Scholz.
For the defence of the lives and freedom of the Ukrainian people as well as the defence of our international system, he said, “We stand strongly behind those who are under assault.”
And Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned the gathering that the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, threatened the legitimacy of the U.N.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is behaviour that violates the U.N. charter’s guiding principles, according to the statement. According to Kishida, it should never be condoned.
In his speech to the UN today, President Joe Biden will contend that Russia’s “naked aggression” in Ukraine is an insult to the core principles upheld by the organisation.
According to White House sources, his major goal while attending the general assembly would be to encourage Ukraine’s friends to continue fighting Russia and to stand as one in the face of Putin’s threats.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan described the president’s speech as “a forceful denunciation of Russia’s illegitimate conflict in Ukraine and a call to the world to continue to stand against the brazen aggression that we’ve witnessed these last few months.”
At a time when a permanent member of the Security Council has attacked the fundamental foundation of the charter by contesting the concept of territorial integrity and sovereignty, he will emphasise the need of strengthening the United Nations and restate key principles of its charter.
Zelenskyy said in his evening speech that there are many unanswered concerns about the announcements but emphasised that this would not alter Ukraine’s determination to reclaim territory held by Russian soldiers.
According to him, “The situation on the front lines plainly shows that the initiative belongs to Ukraine.” “Our stances don’t alter as a result of noise or pronouncements made elsewhere. And our partners are fully behind us in this.
According to Zelensky, “I applaud all allies and partners of Ukraine for today’s widespread and forceful denunciation of Russia’s plans to arrange additional fake referenda.”
The Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament voted on Tuesday to toughen regulations against Russian military deserting, surrendering, and looting, sending another message that the country is bracing for a lengthy and intensified fight.
Additionally, lawmakers approved the introduction of potential 10-year jail sentences for troops who refuse to battle.
The proposal would give commanders more power to combat reports of low troop morale if the upper chamber approves it as anticipated and Putin signs it into law.
The biggest nuclear power station in Europe continues to be shelled near the city of Enerhodar, which is under Russian control.
Russian shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station once again caused structural damage, according to Ukrainian energy operator Energoatom, and momentarily required employees to fire up two diesel generators for backup power to reactor cooling pumps.
Even though the plant’s six reactors have all been shut down, such pumps are crucial for preventing a meltdown. The generators were reportedly turned off later when main power was restored, according to Energoatom.
Months of worry have been directed at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant because to worries that shelling may produce a radioactive release. The shelling is being blamed on by both Russia and Ukraine.