Several thousand Russians and several hundred Ukrainians are stuck in Thailand as a result of the sanctions against Moscow.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, holidaymakers have been stranded in the Southeast Asian travel destination due to canceled flights home, exorbitantly increased prices for plane tickets and the blockade of Russian payment transactions.

Till Fähnders

Political correspondent for Southeast Asia.

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According to the Thai tourism authorities, around half of the more than 6,000 stuck tourists are on the island of Phuket.

The rest are hanging out in other resorts like Koh Samui, Pattaya and Krabi.

Since the country in Southeast Asia has reopened to international tourists, the Russians have been the largest group of travelers.

In January alone, 23,000 Russians are said to have entered the country, about a fifth of all those entering the country.

At the moment, however, only a fraction of this is arriving.

The authorities promised relief for the stranded tourists.

They can extend their visas without additional fees.

It was said that no one was deported against their will.

"We have asked hotels to lower prices and extend their stays," said the head of the Phuket Tourism Association.

On the island, the authorities have set up a telephone consultation in Russian.

Work is also underway to make return flights available, including both regular scheduled flights and special flights.

The Russian embassy in Bangkok said on Facebook that the Russian authorities would "take the necessary measures to ensure the return of Russian tourists".

Thailand's tourism industry, which had been impatiently awaiting the return of vacationers after two years of the pandemic, showed understanding: "We have to be good hosts and take care of everyone," said the head of the tourism authority, Yuthasak Supasorn.

Like some neighboring Southeast Asian countries, the government in Thailand had tried to remain neutral after Russia invaded Ukraine.

In February, Thailand initially published a statement of just a few sentences, in which Russia was not named.

However, Thailand was among 141 countries that voted in support of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion.