The government will help to evacuate all Armenian nationals trying to return to Armenia due to the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Foreign Minister Avet Adonts said on Tuesday.
“As of April 21, 1,283 citizens applied to our diplomatic missions abroad to return to Armenia,” Adonts told a news conference. “They are from different countries: the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, European countries, Middle Eastern states and elsewhere.”
According to Adonts, about other 22,000 citizens have returned to Armenia since March 14. Some of them were repatriated on charter flights arranged and, in some cases, financed by the government.
About 1,000 Armenians were flown to Yerevan from Moscow and two other Russian cities on five such flights carried out by Russian airlines earlier this month. All of them were placed under a two-week quarantine on their arrival in the country.
Adonts thanked Russian-Armenian benefactors who paid for the tickets of most of those passengers, including women and young children, and offered free accommodation to other Armenians seeking repatriation.
He also said: “We have been spending quite large resources on ensuring their health safety after their return. I first and foremost mean the quarantine which is mandatory for everyone coming back to Armenia.”
Some 120 Armenians have been stuck at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport for the last several days, refusing temporary accommodation offers and hoping to catch the next emergency flight to Yerevan. Russian police forced them out of an airport terminal late on Monday.
Adonts urged the stranded citizens to abide by coronavirus-related restrictions imposed by Russian authorities and avoid gathering at the airport for now. The Armenian Foreign Ministry will try to evacuate them “in the coming days,” he said.
Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian announced afterwards that 18 Armenian nationals are expected to arrive from the United Arab Emirates later on Tuesday.