Airline staff conscripted in Russia’s first mobilisation since WWII

Russian airline and airport employees have started to receive conscription notices, according to the country’s Kommersant newspaper.

The news comes after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilisation of 300,000 army reservists last week.

Employees of at least five airlines, including Russian top carrier Aeroflot, and staff at more than 10 airports received notices within a day of Putin ordering the mobilisation, reports the paper.

How many airline staff could be conscripted in Russia?

According to sources in three companies, between 50-to-80 per cent of employees could potentially be called up. A source close to Aeroflot said that over half of the staff at three of the group’s airlines potentially could be drafted, says Kommersant.

Aeroflot declined to comment.

Most pilots in airlines are reserve officers trained in military departments of flight schools, or privates who have completed military service.

At least five companies have started to compile, and two have already sent, lists of employees to be exempted from the draft, as the exemption is critical not only for pilots and air traffic controllers, but also for technical, commercial and IT specialists, Kommersant reports.

Who else is being called up to flight in Ukraine?

On Wednesday, Putin ordered Russia‘s first mobilisation since World War Two. He also backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, triggering some draft-age Russians to leave the country.

Flights out of Moscow quickly filled up, as possible conscripts scrambled to avoid the draft.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that around 300,000 reservists would be called up, and that they would be specialists with combat experience.

All Russian men are required to do a year’s military service between the ages of 18 and 27, although university students may instead receive instruction from a military faculty alongside their chosen studies.

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