Over 2,000 Russian nationals stranded in U.S. amid COVID-19 pandemic

As Russia temporarily suspends all incoming flights, those unable to return home are left relying on the Embassy, diaspora community and the Orthodox Church for support.

On Friday, Russia stepped up its response to the coronavirus by temporarily suspending all incoming flights, including those intended to bring home citizens from overseas.

Measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 have limited travel options, creating headaches and logistical nightmares for governments and passengers around the globe.

While more than 150,000 Russian citizens have already returned to their homeland over the past two weeks, the Foreign Ministry reports that there are still an estimated 25,000, including over 2,000 in the U.S., who are in need of help getting home.

Among these people are students, families with toddlers and children, and a substantial number of passengers with limited financial resources and nowhere to stay.

The Russian government has pledged to bring home everybody who remains stranded abroad, promising accommodation assistance to the most vulnerable as they await the resumption of flights. The Russian diplomatic mission in the U.S. and Aeroflot, Russia’s flag-carrier airline, have already begun providing hotels to those in need.

Additional support has been pouring in from the diaspora, with many, especially in New York, volunteering to provide housing or financial assistance after a call for help was published on social media by the Russian Community Council. Also mobilized to assist is the Russian Orthodox Church, making available some of its facilities.

Meanwhile back in Moscow, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova noted that on Monday the government will begin to form new routes and schedule for flights that will finally bring its stranded citizens home.