Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to mobilise the reserve forces has led to an exodus over the country's borders.
Even draft-age Russians (18-65) were rushing out of the country after Putin's order of calling up 3,00,000 military reservists to join the troops in Ukraine.
Prices for air tickets from Moscow soared above $5,000 for one-way flights to the nearest foreign locations, with most sold out for the coming days, reported Reuters.
This is the first such incident since the 2nd World War when Russia has called up its reserve forces.
Zelensky asks Russians to protest: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday asked the Russian public to protest the partial mobilisation announced by Putin.
"55,000 Russian soldiers died in these six months of war. Do you want more? No? Then protest. Fight back, run away or surrender to the Ukrainian army, Zelensky said.
Partial mobilisation underway: The partial mobilisation of the reserved forces in Russia has already started. Videos on social media showed groups of men awaiting transportation to join the offensive.
CNN reported that in the city of Neryungi a community video channel posted clips of families saying goodbye to a large group of men, as they boarded buses. The video shows a woman crying and hugging her husband goodbye, while he reaches for his daughter's hand from the bus window.
Russia says thousands have volunteered: According to AFP, some Russian news agencies reported quoting Russian General Staff that 10,000 volunteers have turned up to enlist for Russia's military campaign in Ukraine without waiting for call-up papers being issued.
Russia drafting arrested protesters into the military: Some Russians who were arrested during the anti-war protests have been handed draft papers while in custody, the OVD-Info rights group said on Thursday.
OVD-Info said at least 1,310 protesters had been detained, and some had been presented with summonses to enlist. One protester in Moscow was told they faced a 10-year jail sentence for refusing to receive an enlistment order, reported Reuters.
Russians leave country: Military-aged men made up the majority of those arriving off the latest flight from Moscow. Since the war started, Armenia says at least 40,000 Russians have arrived in the country. Nearly 50,000 Russians have fled to neighbouring Georgia, national statistics from June showed, reported AFP.
"I don't want to go to the war. I don't want to die in this senseless war."— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 23, 2022
Russians flee abroad after Putin's call to mobilise several hundred thousand reservists to join the war in Ukrainehttps://t.co/xF5O9LRTgJ
📹 Long line of cars crossing from Russia into Finland pic.twitter.com/UaA5awe6jd
Dmitri flew to Armenia with just one small bag, leaving behind his wife and children "I don't want to go to war. I don't want to die in this senseless war. This is a fratricidal war," he told AFP.
Putin's nuclear threat: In his 14-minute long televised address on Wednesday, Putin warned the West that he isn't bluffing about using everything at his disposal to protect Russia. Putin said that officials in NATO states had threatened to use nuclear weapons against Russia.
"We also have various means of destruction. When the territorial integrity of Russia is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect our country and our people. It's not a bluff," Putin said.
4 Ukraine regions to hold referendums to join Russia: Four Russian-controlled regions of eastern and southern Ukraine have announced plans to start voting this week to become integral parts of Russia.
The scheduling of referendums will start on Friday (September 23) in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.
Ukraine's counter-attack: After suffering huge losses and destruction, Ukraine is on the counter-offensive and has won some major ground.
Ukraine has reclaimed over 6,000 sq km from Russia in counter-offensive and has captured many POWs in the last few weeks.
Death toll in Ukraine war: The United Nations said that a total of 5,827 civilians have died during Russia's invasion of Ukraine as of September 11, 2022. Of them, 375 were children. 8,421 people have been injured so far.