Serbia Increases Number of Air Connections With Russia in Spite of EU Sanctions


As of March 31, Air Serbia will operate more flights to 15 destinations, including Russia, further strengthening the air connectivity between the two countries.

According to data from the Global Distribution System (GDS), the Serbian flag carrier plans to add to its itinerary destinations in Russia, like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, flying 19 planes to the Russian capital from Serbia every week, reports.

In addition to Moscow, new connections are planned for Bucharest, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Thessaloniki, Palma de Mallorca, Corfu, Milan, Venice, Valencia, Madrid and Lisbon, while Paris will be the second destination with most flights in a week โ€“ 18 compared to 19 that are directed to Russia.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in March 2022, Air Serbia announced there would be fewer flights to Moscow, following pressure from the European Union. Since this event, a lot of Ukrainian and Russian people emigrated to Serbia.

Data by the EU Commission reveals that 219,000 people entered Serbia in a little more than a year, from February 2022 to June 2023, with some 153 being Russian citizens.

However, the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that this number is much higher and amounts to 370,000 people whose entry was registered until April 2023. About 30,000 Russians, in turn, received a temporary residence permit in Serbia.

Currently, the majority of European countries have imposed a ban on Russian citizens, with Finland recently deciding to keep its eastern border shut due to concerns of ongoing instrumentalised migration concerns.

During this period, no one will be able to cross the border to or from Russia.

The border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until February 11, 2024. It will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia.

Finnish Ministry of Interior

Since the Russian war in Ukraine happened, Russian nationals have been subject to sanctions across all European countries, which disabled these nationals from visiting Europe altogether. Turkiye, like Serbia, served as a gateway to Europe for Russians during this period.

According to the Turkish Presidency of Migration (Management), Russian and Ukrainian communities in the country have increased significantly since 2022. Russians skyrocketed from about 4.8 per cent of Turkeyโ€™s total short-term residents to over ten per cent. Currently, 145,092 Russians are granted that status, a slight decrease from 145,715 in 2022. The reason for this decline can be related to the fact that a large number of wealthy Russians acquired Turkish passports and then relocated elsewhere.


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