Russia to evacuate citizens from Europe
The Russian government has announced it is working on a plan to evacuate its citizens from Europe, after an array of European countries closed their airspace to all Russian airlines amid Moscow’s military conflict with Kiev.
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency and Federal Tourism Agency revealed on Sunday that they were working with the Russian Foreign Ministry to evacuate Russians from European nations as they continue to impose sanctions on Russia, cutting off Russian aircraft from their airspaces.
“The work to organize the evacuation of Russian citizens from European countries is being carried out by the Federal Air Transport Agency together with the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Federal Tourism Agency. After clarifying the required carrying capacities, a schedule will be formed,” the statement said.
“Russian airlines are ready to fulfill their obligations to passengers and deliver them home, subject to flexible approaches and constructive decisions of the aviation authorities of European countries on this issue,” it continued.
The agencies advised Russians in Europe to register in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Assistant smartphone app.
As most European countries currently prohibit Russian aircraft from entering their airspaces, Russians in Europe might be evacuated home through Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt, among other countries still open to Russian aircraft, Dmitry Gorin, the vice president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT), told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
He noted that tour operators were working to transport “400 independent and organized tourists from Budapest, Hungary, 500 organized tourists from Bulgaria and about 200 from Portuguese Madeira” back to Russia.
Over a dozen European countries have already shut down their airspace for Russian carriers as well as private jets from Russia. Speaking on Sunday, European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU’s goal would be to deny all Russian planes access to the block, “meaning they would not be able to fly over the bloc or land at any airports within it.”
On Sunday, Russia’s flagship Aeroflot carrier announced it was canceling all flights to Europe.