MOSCOW, 25 March (BelTA) - Due to poor coordination between Russian agencies, Belarusian citizens cannot take advantage of transit opportunities through the territory of Russia, as provided in the executive order of the Russian government, BelTA learned from an informed source familiar with the situation.
Seven Belarusian citizens arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport from the Dominican Republic the day before. They purchased tickets from the Belavia airline for the flight to Minsk which was departing Moscow on 24 March at 21.55 from another airport – Domodedovo. The Russian FSB border service issued the necessary documents for the passage of Belarusian citizens, and a police escort arrived at the airport. However, an official of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) refused to sign off saying that she was not authorized to sign the document that did not correspond to the forms established by the agency. Employees of the Belarusian Embassy in Russia made every effort to resolve the situation. However, the representative of Rospotrebnadzor signed only a document verifying the aircraft inspection, which had nothing to do with the case.
As a result, the Belarusian citizens still remain in the transit zone of Vnukovo. The embassy of Belarus in Russia is trying to rebook their overdue tickets for a Belavia flight. According to the source, another group of Belarusian citizens is expected to arrive at Vnukovo today. They will find themselves in a similar situation.
A BelTA correspondent asked Press Secretary of the Belarusian Embassy in Russia Oleg Mazuro to comment on the situation. He noted that the diplomatic mission is working to resolve the situation and keeps in touch with the relevant Russian agencies. The spokesman expressed hope that the current situation will be resolved in the near future.
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 Vnukovo airport.