CAIRO (Reuters) – Arrangements are being made to help as many as 20,000 Ukrainian tourists stranded at Egyptian resorts to fly to Europe, Ukrainian embassy officials in Cairo said on Thursday, adding that many were ready to head to Ukraine to fight Russian forces.
The tourists, estimated at between 17,500 and 20,000, are mostly in the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, with some further south in Marsa Allam.
A few have flown out of their own accord but the embassy is working with Egyptian authorities and tourism companies to set up returns to countries neighbouring Ukraine, said the embassy deputy head Yevhen Zhupeyev.
“Lots of them are calling, willing to come back and asking to return them in order to fight Russian soldiers,” said Zhupeyev, adding that the embassy was only arranging returns to third countries.
Egypt, which has close relations with Russia but which voted at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Moscow’s invasion, was allowing Ukrainians to stay in three-star hotels for free as long as they needed, Zhupeyev said.
“We’re expecting the European countries to give us a green light to receive them … our allies there are finding the airports which can receive Ukrainians from Egypt,” he said.
(Reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Edmund Blair)