New Delhi: While people who are caught in war-torn Ukraine, including thousands from India including a majority of medical students, are in a scramble for exits to neighbouring countries and home-bound flights, Russians also have their own woes to get home from several European countries, after many of them closed their airspace to all Russian airline. The closure of air routes is one immediate, and directly impacting, step European nations have taken in response to Moscow's military conflict with Kyiv.
Conversely, Ukrainians in large numbers have been trying to leave Russia too, and facing comparable difficulties in getting suitable flights or border crossings.
The Russian aviation and tourism authorities are in a heightened alert mode to evacuate their citizens from those countries where sanctions against Russia are likely to cause travel hurdles and resultant humanitarian suffering.
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 organise the evacuation of Russian citizens from the 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, RT reported.
As most European countries currently prohibit Russian aircraft from entering their airspace, 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 organised tourists from Budapest, Hungary, 500 organised tourists from Bulgaria and about 200 from Portuguese Madeira" back to Russia.
(With inptus from IANS)