MOSCOW, 26 March (BelTA) – Belavia's fourth charter flight flew Belarusian citizens and third-country nationals from Moscow's Vnukovo airport to Minsk on the night of 26 March, BelTA learned from Second Secretary of the press service of the Belarusian embassy in Russia Maria Arashkevich.
The diplomat was in the transit zone and monitored the process. According to her, a Belavia plane departed Vnukovo airport after 23.00 on 25 March. On board the plane there were 138 people, including 63 nationals of Belarus and a great number of Ukrainian citizens, as well as citizens of Germany, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for whom the flight via Minsk is virtually the only way to get home.
Earlier, Belavia had already made three charter flights to Vnukovo to bring home Belarusian nationals. Belavia's first charter flight helped repatriate about a hundred Belarusian nationals on 20 March. The second charter flight flew 82 people including three foreigners (Armenia, Ukraine and Lithuania) on the night of 23 March. The third charter flight operated by Belavia brought over 70 people to Minsk, including citizens of Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Russia.
As BelTA has reported earlier, on 18 March, Russia closed borders to foreign nationals, including citizens of Belarus, over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Yet, it allowed transit through Moscow's airports Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo providing that citizens do not leave the transit zone and fly to Belarus within 24 hours. However, most Russian flights from the Asia-Pacific region arrive at Moscow's Vnukovo airport from which there are no direct flights to Minsk. Later on, Russia relaxed the transit rules to allow nationals of the CIS states, including Belarus, to fly through other airports in transit.