Thousands of Russians stuck in Thailand after asset freezes, airline blocks

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About 6,500 Russians are stuck in four provinces and cities of Thailand as tourists grapple with fewer airline options to head back home and sanctions that have affected their access to financial services, The Associated Press reported.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told the newswire on Friday that 6,500 Russians were stranded in Pattaya city and the provinces of Surat Thani, Krabi and Phuket. One thousand Ukrainians are also stuck in Thailand.

Because credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard have blocked Russian banks from their networks, Russians have been unable to pay their bills while abroad, one volunteer translator told the AP.

Yuthasak told the news outlet that officials were trying to work with Russians to help them find flights back home given restricted travel access to Russia.

“There are some airlines that still fly to Russia, but travelers have to transit in another country. We are trying to coordinate and search the flights for them,” he told the AP.

Thai officials are searching to find inexpensive options for Russians who may need to stay in the country for a longer period of time and are allowing for free 30-day visa extensions.

The development shows some of the tangible impacts that global sanctions are having on Russians outside of the country, who have been cut off from financial services and forced to find airlines still willing to fly into Moscow. 

In the latest blow to Russia, President Biden announced that the U.S. and the other Group of Seven (G-7) nations would be revoking Russia’s preferential trade status, which, in the U.S., allows Russian goods to be subject to lower tariffs under the status. 

Tags Joe Biden Russia Thailand Ukraine

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