STORY: One Russian man arriving at Istanbul Airport said he had left partly over the Kremlin's decision. He had traveled alone with a carry-on bag on a morning Turkish Airline flight from Moscow.
Putin's announcement, made in an early-morning television address a day earlier, raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country.
Concern over being conscripted saw flights out of Russia quickly sell out, and jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for mass demonstrations against the mobilization.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that reports of an exodus of draft-age men were exaggerated. Asked about reports that men detained at anti-war protests were being given draft papers, Peskov said it was not against the law.