With Ukraine embarking on its 12th day of war with Eastern Europe giant Russia, Ukrainian citizens, which have temporarily been homed in Egyptian hotels, have been allocated free flights to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
The decision, as reported by Arab News, was also confirmed through the Embassy of Ukraine’s official Facebook page, whereby the Embassy stated that the Egyptian government was facilitating the Ukrainians’ exit, as per its request.
Media outlets estimate that between 16,000 to 20,000 Ukrainian tourists have been temporarily sheltered in Red sea winter resorts, mostly in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada – popular attraction cities for vacationing Eastern Europeans.
As of March 4, almost 4,000 Ukrainian tourists had already left the country, mainly via Cairo Air and EgyptAir, at the expense of the Egyptian government. Ukrainian tourists also reserve the right to organize their own flights from Egypt via charter Easyjet, Wizzair and TUI airlines.
Independent media outlet MadaMasr reported that each Egyptian hotel hosting Ukrainian citizens raked up LE 50,000 to LE100,000 (USD 3,174 – 6,349) in losses, on a daily basis, as per Ali Mansour, board member of the directors of the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Establishments.
During a televised interview with the show Al-Hayat Al-Youm, Ambassador Nader Saad, the official spokesman for the Presidency of the Egyptian Cabinet, highlighted that Egypt’s humanitarian role in assisting the plight of the Ukrainians was to host the tourists in hotels free of charge for a week. Egypt’s efforts to alleviate the dire situation was also to “bear responsibility for the return flights of the Ukrainians” as a gesture of solidarity to Ukrainians who had chosen to spend their holidays in Egypt.
“The flights transporting the Ukrainians are also intended to return the Egyptians who have crossed the border of Ukraine,” underscored Saad.
Since the start of the war, Egypt’s Ministry of Emigration has been precipitate in evacuating Egyptian student and expats residing in Ukraine, many of which fleeing to neighboring countries as Russian troops continue to attach Ukraine from the Eastern, Southern and Northern borders.
On March 6, Egypt is due to return its citizens from Slovakia, reports Al Ahram.