More than 250 Cubans Who Were in Russia Have Returned to the Island “in the Last Few Days.”

Cubanos varados en Rusia

MIAMI, United States. – More than 250 Cubans who were in Russia have returned to the island “in the last few days” thanks to fights that repatriated Russian tourists who were visiting the Caribbean country, according to a Twitter message sent by Ernesto Soberón, managing director of the Ministry of Foreign Relations’ Consular and Cubans Residing Abroad Affairs.

According to the official, the Cuban Consulate in Russia stays in touch with Cubans residing in that country “in order to provide the necessary consular assistance and support the arrangement they are making to return to Cuba.”

This Thursday, it was known that the Cuban Embassy in Russia was trying to coordinate with local authorities any alternative ways possible for the return home of Cubans stranded in Russia, according to Cuba’s Consul General in Russia, Liana Hernández.

The situation for Cubans stranded in Russia became more complex once the United States, Canada and the majority of European countries closed their airspace to Russia as part of the sanctions for invading Ukraine.

These circumstances caused that Cuban as well as Russian tourists found themselves unable to return to their respective countries within the established time, as stated by the diplomat to the Russian news agency, Sputnik.

“At this time, our Consulate and Embassy are making arrangements with the competent authorities to learn about the alternatives that our citizens have in order to return to Cuba,” she confirmed.

It was also learnt this week that Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations (MINREX) had activated a line of communication for Cubans who reside in Russia.

“Cubans who reside in Russia can contact our Consulate through Messenger on its Facebook page Consulado de Cuba in Russia,” wrote the official on Twitter.

“Only for residents? And what about other Cubans that are there? This service is not for them?” asked a user who identified as lundberg_official.

Until this Thursday, when Sputnik published the statement of the Cuban consul in Russia, no one in a position of authority in the island had mentioned anything about the fate of non-resident Cubans stranded there due to the sanctions against Moscow.

Since the cancellation of a visa requirement in 2013, Cubans have traveled to Russia in massive numbers: some with the idea of purchasing a variety of goods they can resell back in Cuba; others as a way to access other European countries, especially Spain and Italy.

According to the Russian Border Guard, and to a study conducted by the daily El País, each year, more than 25,000 Cubans arrive in Russia, without a visa and with a three-month stay permit.

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