Ukrainian embassy officials in Cairo claimed on Thursday that arrangements are being prepared to let as many as 20,000 Ukrainian tourists stranded in Egyptian resorts fly to Europe, adding that many were ready to fight Russian soldiers in Ukraine.
The visitors, estimated to number between 17,500 and 20,000, are largely in the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, with a few in Marsa Allam further south.
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Although a few people have left on their own, the embassy is working with Egyptian authorities and tourism companies to arrange for their return to Ukraine’s surrounding nations, according to embassy deputy chief Yevhen Zhupeyev.
“A lot of them are contacting, eager to return, and requesting to be returned so that they might fight Russian forces,” Zhupeyev said, adding that the embassy was only arranging returns to third nations.
Egypt, which has close ties with Russia but condemned Moscow’s invasion at the United Nations General Assembly, was enabling Ukrainians to remain at three-star hotels for free for as long as they wanted, according to Zhupeyev.
“We’re waiting for European countries to give us permission to host them… our allies in Egypt are looking for airports that can receive Ukrainians,” he said.