Putin signs temporary ban on passenger flights from Russia to Egypt
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on temporary ban of passenger flights from Russia to Egypt. The text of the decree was posted on the portal of legal information on Sunday. "Russian air companies are temporarily banned from making flights [including commercial] from Russia to Egypt, with the exception of flights [including commercial] to transport Russian citizens commissioned by the state authorities and federal agencies to Egypt for work-related purposes," the document says. Apart from that, the document strongly recommends travel companies not to sell holiday packages that include flights to Egypt. "Travel operators and agents are recommended to refrain from selling travel packages including transportation by air for the period of the temporary flight ban," the document says. The decree obliges the government "to take measures to ensure the return of Russian citizens staying in Egypt and their luggage back to Russia." Apart from that, Putin bound the foreign ministry to coordinate with the Egyptian authorities issues of security of Russian citizens staying in that country and their safe return home, according to a presidential decree published on Sunday on the official portal of legal information. The decree comes into force from the day of signing. On Friday, November 6, the Russian president agreed with recommendations of the National Anti-terrorist Committee to suspend air service with Egypt until the causes of the A321 plane crash were identified. According to presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, flights to Egypt will be suspended until proper level of security is ensured. Putin also issued instructions to help Russians vacationing in Egypt return home. Peskov noted however that the suspension of flights did not mean that a terrorist attack was considered as a key theory of the Russian plane crash in northern Sinai. According to Russia’s Tourism Agency [Rostourism], about 80,000 Russians were staying in Egypt as of Friday. An A321 passenger jet of Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier [flight 9268] bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It fell down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. There were four Ukrainian and one Belarusian nationals among the passengers. None survived.