More than 16,000 Ukrainian tourists are currently in Egypt’s Red Sea resort cities: Ukrainian Embassy

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 27 Feb 2022

There are more than 16,000 Ukrainian tourists in Egypt’s Red Sea resort cities who can’t return to Ukraine through flights in the current time due to the Russian invasion of the country, the Ukrainian embassy in Cairo announced on Sunday.

File Photo: tourists walk on a beach in Egypt s Red Sea resort town of Hurghada. AFP

In a press conference held in Cairo, Ukrainian Chargé d’Affaires in Egypt Ruslan Nechai stated that the Ukrainian tourists are in Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Marsa Alam currently.

He added that these tourists can’t return to Ukraine as the country’s airspace is closed, however, they can return home through the borders of Ukraine’s “friendly” neighbouring countries.

Nechai thanked Egypt for extending the accommodation of Ukrainian tourists free of charge in Egyptian hotels, adding that the efforts of the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities and Foreign Affairs coordinated with the embassy helped ease the crisis Ukrainian tourists are going through.

Egypt’s Hotel Association already issued on Thursday a directive to all hotels in the country to extend the stay of Ukrainian and Russian tourists in Egyptian hotels after the end of their trip till they return to their countries.

The hotels were instructed to provide all facilities for the tourists till they find a safe way to return to their countries.

Nechai revealed in the press conference that the Ukrainian embassy contacted on Wednesday the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to assist in organising the return of Ukrainian tourists to the state’s neighbouring countries to return to their families as well as join the local resistance there.

Regarding the Egyptian community in Ukraine, Nechai said that according to the estimates of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education in 2021, there are 6,000 Egyptians living in Ukraine, including 3,500 students.

He added that the Ukrainian Embassy in Cairo is coordinating with the Egyptian Embassy in Kyiv regarding the return of these Egyptian students to Egypt until this crisis is resolved.

Furthermore, Nechai revealed that the Ukrainian Embassy in Cairo has been coordinating with Poland and Romania regarding issuing visas to said Egyptian students.

Due to the current situation in his country, the Chargé d’Affaires said that Egyptian students can currently cross the border into Poland or Romania without the need of a visa.

On Saturday, Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram announced that a group of 1,000 Egyptian expats were on their way to Bucharest while another smaller group of 80 Egyptians have already arrived at the Ukrainian-Polish borders.

Over the past few days, the Egyptian Embassy in Ukraine has urged citizens in western parts of the country to head to the border crossings with Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia to return back to Egypt through these countries.

The embassy, however, advised expats in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv or eastern cities to stay at home or in shelters, adding that negotiations are underway to secure a safe exit for those in eastern side of the country.

During the press conference, the Ukrainian diplomat said that his country was paying the price of Russian President Vladmir Putin’s “expansional aspiration to restore the Soviet empire.”

He added that Ukraine has been an independent free state for more than a millennium and a nation with its own identity, according to historical records, as Kyiv became the country’s capital in the ninth century.

Last Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his speech to the Russian people that modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia, more specifically by communist Russia, describing the Ukrainian statehood as fiction.

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