Russian tourists stranded in Cuba brought back by charter flights

About 900 Russian tourists, among more than 5,000 stranded in Cuba since the suspension of regular services operated by Russian companies, were able to board several charter flights on Sunday evening, as many will do the same on Monday.

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The suspension comes on the heels of the overflight ban imposed on Russian airlines from the airspace of NATO and European Union member states in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

An official at Varadero Airport, an eastern resort of Havana, told reporters that 927 Russian passengers traveled to Moscow on Sunday, and another 940 are expected to board on Monday.

France Press agency

“We arrived on February 25, we had to give up a five-day vacation and we will not be compensated,” complained tourist Alexei Nekrashevich, 48, who came to Cuba with his wife.

France Press agency

He added, “It’s a shame we left so early, we didn’t rest enough, but what can we do about it?”

France Press agency

On Friday, the official Cuban press announced that 5,570 Russian tourists were stranded on the Caribbean island after Russia’s Aeroflot, Azure Air and Nordwind suspended their regular contacts with the island.

France Press agency

According to the official communication apparatus of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), Russia’s Nordwind is required to make four weekly contacts between Varadero and Moscow.

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Cuba has been counting on Russian visitors, who went from 74,019 travelers in 2020 to 146,151 in 2021, to revive tourism, a key driver of its economy that has been frozen since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

France Press agency

Nearly 15,000 Russian and 2,000 Ukrainian tourists are stranded for the same reasons in the Dominican Republic, the government of the neighboring island of Cuba said on Wednesday.

Agreements have been reached with hotel chains to ensure accommodation for tourists until a solution is found to return home.

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