6 May 2020 10:19

Russian govt. allots 500 mln rubles to support citizens stranded abroad - directive

MOSCOW. May 1 (Interfax) - The Russian government has allotted 500 million rubles to support Russian citizens currently stranded abroad.

The directive was signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on April 30 and was published on the government website on Friday.

"To allot 500 million rubles from the Russian government's reserve fund to the Russian Foreign Ministry in 2020 for the purpose of social support (assistance) to Russian citizens stranded in the territories of foreign states and unable to return to Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic; the assistance will be provided to those citizens till the moment of their return to Russia," the document said.

The Foreign Ministry was tasked with controlling the proper and efficient spending of the budget funds and with presenting a relevant report to the government by February 1, 2021.

Mishustin said at a government meeting on Thursday that the government would allot additional funds to help Russians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic but did not specify the amount.

"We will assign additional funds for Russian citizens who have been unable to return to Russia from abroad because of the coronavirus situation. Just like the funds allocated earlier, the money will be spent on temporary accommodation, food, and other urgent needs of those who cannot bear such expenses on their own," Mishustin said.

The money may also be spent on extending visas and other documents allowing those persons to stay in a foreign country, he said.

"The government is continuing to take necessary measures toward repatriating our citizens consistent with relevant sanitary restrictions," Mishustin said.

The government already assigned 500 million rubles in early April to help citizens stranded abroad because of coronavirus.

Mishustin said back then that the funds would be primarily spent on temporary accommodation of citizens in foreign states. "Not all of them are capable of doing so on their own," he said.

Rosaviatsiya said on April 27 that over 172,000 Russians had been repatriated since March 20.

"According to Rosaviatsiya's working group, which is coordinating repatriation of citizens, 172,199 Russians returned to the territory of the Russian Federation in the period from March 20 till April 26," an agency representative told Interfax.