Russian airlines staff start to receive conscription notices, Kommersant reports

A view shows the first Airbus A350-900 aircraft of Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot during a media presentation at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

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Sept 23 (Reuters) – Russian employees at airlines and airports have started to receive conscription notices after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilisation, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Friday citing sources.

Employees of at least five airlines, including Russian top carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), and staff at more than 10 airports received notices within a day of Putin ordering the mobilization, the paper reported.

According to sources in three companies, potentially 50-80% of the employees could be called up, with a source close to Aeroflot saying that over half of the staff at three of the group’s airlines potentially could be drafted, Kommersant said.

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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 said.

Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, triggering some draft-age Russians to leave the country.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday 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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Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka; editing by Jason Neely

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