7 Apr 2020 10:26

Not enough applications from Russian citizens even for one flight from U.S. - Ambassador Antonov

WASHINGTON. April 7 (Interfax) - There are not enough applications from Russian citizens even for one flight from the United States amid the coronavirus epidemic, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.

"It is important that every compatriot who wishes to leave the United States for Russia gets registered in the relevant section of the Internet portal Gosuslugi. So far this has been done by a handful of people, which is obviously insufficient for sending even one plane here," Antonov told the press.

Moscow "needs to know the actual number of Russians planning to return home," he said.

"We are insistently asking Russian citizens, who are staying in the United States and have not done that, to undergo the necessary procedure. This is the mandatory condition of their return to Russia, in addition to the availability of tickets or the readiness to buy those," he said.

"Rosaviatsiya's interagency working group, which is coordinating the return of Russian citizens from abroad, has confirmed the intention to resume repatriation flights," Antonov said.

A statement published on the embassy website in connection with the temporary suspension of international flights said that starting on April 4 "a schedule of Russian citizens' repatriation amid the worsening epidemiological situation will be drafted."

"Citizens who provide relevant personal information will be entitled to social support in the period of their stay abroad," the statement said.

According to the embassy, Russian citizens who are wishing to return home need to fill the special form, "Registration of Russian Citizens Staying in Foreign Countries," on the Internet portal Gosuslugi.

Press secretary of the Russian consulate general in New York Alexei Topolsky told Interfax earlier that at least 250 Russian citizens were expected to fly from New York to Moscow in the evening of April 3 but their Aeroflot flight was cancelled.

Antonov also said that over 2,000 Russian citizens wished to return home from the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"To our knowledge, more than 2,000 Russian citizens wishing to return home are left in the U.S. territory. Under the new circumstances, we are rapidly adjusting our work to make lists for providing targeted support to the compatriots who need it most," he told the press earlier.

Aeroflot is awaiting permission to perform flights from New York and Male on April 7 and 8. Additional information will be published on the airline's website.