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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Question: How much has the number of Russians wishing to visit Greece increased after the appearance of more flights to Greek resorts? When can we expect the resumption of the charter service? When can we expect a resumption of regular traffic in the same volumes?

Answer: Regular passenger flights with Greece were resumed on February 8, 2021 by the decision of the Operational Headquarters to prevent the import and spread of a new coronavirus infection in the Russian Federation. The only criterion that the Russian authorities are guided by is the sanitary and epidemiological situation. As it improved in Greece, the number of flights and the geography of flights expanded consistently. Now it is allowed to carry out a total of up to 78 flights per week, and the Greek direction is the second in Russia in terms of the total number of air flights and the mass of the tourist flow.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the prospects for further recovery of air traffic with Greece, as with other countries, will depend on the dynamics of the epidemiological situation. The relevant departments are closely monitoring the current incidence rates of the new coronavirus infection in Greece for compliance with the criteria established by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection (Rospotrebnadzor). An unequivocal priority for the Russian side is the safety of our citizens.

Question: How did the flow of Russian tourists to Bulgaria and Turkey increase after the resumption of regular flights with these countries? What recommendations does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs give for such trips?

Answer: As you know, in April of this year, there was a significant increase in the incidence of COVID-19 in Turkey. In this regard, the Operational Headquarters for the Prevention of the Importation and Spread of a New Coronavirus Infection in the Russian Federation made a decision to impose temporary restrictions on air traffic between our countries. For the same period, the sale of a tourist product was suspended in relation to Turkey.

The active measures taken by the Turkish side to normalize the sanitary and epidemiological situation in June made it possible to return to the discussion of the issue of restoring air flights. On June 17-20, 2021, an interdepartmental delegation of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Rospotrebnadzor and Rosturizm was in Antalya, which analyzed the situation on the spot and got acquainted with the ongoing set of measures to ensure the safety and health of vacationers. The results of the inspection made it possible to give a positive conclusion, and on June 22, bilateral air traffic was resumed. Our tourists again got the opportunity to visit the hospitable resorts of the Turkish coast. It is still too early to speak about any estimates regarding the flow of tourists to Turkey, but already now we can say that the traditionally high interest of Russians in this direction remains this year as well.

As for Bulgaria, the specific figures are also tentative – direct flights were resumed only at the end of June. At the same time, according to Bulgarian experts, Bulgarian resorts in the current season expect about 10 thousand Russian tourists a month.

In the current “covid” times, the recommendations for all foreign trips are general: carefully follow the current rules of entry into a particular country, if possible, take out insurance in case you need to provide medical care in case of coronavirus disease. The epidemiological picture remains complex, and such a possibility, unfortunately, cannot be ruled out.

Question: How is the safety of Russian tourists in Turkey ensured, especially against the background of reports of cases of infection with the Delta Plus strain of coronavirus in the country?

Answer: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, together with other relevant departments, since June last year in the resort areas of the country has introduced mandatory certification of hotels and other enterprises in the tourism sector under the Safe Tourism program, which provides for compliance with separately prescribed sanitary and epidemiological criteria. Requirements include the mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, hotel occupancy control and other measures to ensure protection against coronavirus infection.

Before the start of the summer season, the certification of hotels was carried out, most of which are located in Antalya, as well as restaurants and cafes, vehicles involved in the transportation of tourists.

Taking into account the difficult situation associated with forest fires in the southern regions of Turkey, we strongly recommend that potential tourists closely monitor the situation in the places they have chosen for recreation, before traveling to familiarize themselves with the recommendations of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our foreign missions on the relevant Internet resources.

Question: The low level of relations between Russia and the EU worries Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said earlier. What ways do you see for improving relations? How can relations with Greece contribute to this?

Answer: Greece is one of our important partners in Europe. Athens, along with other sane EU countries, has consistently declared that Russia is an integral part of the European security architecture.

For our part, we confirm our readiness for a constructive dialogue with the EU on the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration of interests.

Relations with Athens are an example of pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation. In 2021, the Russia-Greece Year of History is being implemented under the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic. A rich program has been prepared, which includes 140 events in two countries. There are ceremonies on the occasion of memorable dates, festivals, forums, conferences, exhibitions, concerts, book presentations, film screenings and much more. In the context of bilateral anniversaries, Russian naval ships call in Greek ports.

We pay great attention to the promotion of the Russian language in Greece and Greek in Russia, inter-university exchanges.

In the trade and economic sphere, we could develop more intensive interaction, but it is restrained by the illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by the EU against our country. This is not our choice. When the EU members lift the restrictions, we will be able to reconsider the retaliatory measures.

Question: The resolution on Srebrenica, approved by the Parliament of Montenegro, entailed a government crisis in the country. How can a possible reconstruction of the government or early elections affect relations with Russia?

Answer: We are following the state of affairs in Montenegro. We hope that the ruling coalition will be able to cope with internal problems and overcome the causes of the split in Montenegrin society, build national and foreign policy priorities aimed at ensuring the development of the country and the well-being of its citizens, strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation with other states, including, of course, Russia.

Question: How does the Sea Breeze-2021 exercise, which took place from June 28 to July 10, affect the security situation in the Black Sea region? Will Russia somehow react in case of possible provocations?

Answer: Russia closely followed the Sea Breeze-2021 naval exercises in the Black Sea with the participation of Ukraine, the United States and NATO countries. We remember that literally on the eve of the start of these maneuvers, there was an incident with the violation of the Russian border by the British destroyer Defender off the coast of Crimea.

Unfortunately, we have to admit that at present the Black Sea is turning from a region of peace and good-neighborliness into a zone of dangerous military confrontation. It is quite obvious that this kind of “training” provokes, and does not prevent, conflict situations.

Of course, Russia will continue to take measures to neutralize threats to its national security by combining diplomatic and other instruments.

We have repeatedly warned that the escalation of military-political tension directly at our borders carries a confrontational charge.

Question: What is the likelihood of imposing sanctions against the Turkish Stream project after Serbia and Hungary have connected the continuation pipes of the Turkish Stream? What will be Russia’s response to the imposition of such sanctions? How will the launch of the project affect Russia’s relations with the countries involved?

Answer: Russia interacts with all countries interested in a stable supply of energy resources. Serbia and its neighbors are modernizing national gas transmission systems, proceeding, first of all, from their fundamental interests, the demand for gasification of a number of sectors of the economy, and expanding the access of its citizens to energy resources. Ultimately, we are talking about raising the standard of living of the population. Our partners think about the future and choose those options that, in their opinion, are more reliable, more profitable and do not depend on the political situation.

Question: When is the purchase of the second S-400 regiment planned by Turkey? At what stage are the negotiations on this issue?

Answer: We note with satisfaction the ongoing build-up of Russian-Turkish partnership on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. Military-technical cooperation is no exception. The implementation of joint projects, first of all, the delivery of the first regiment of the S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile system to Ankara in 2019 demonstrates the determination of our countries to comprehensively strengthen cooperation in this area. We see serious potential for this. We appreciate the position of our Turkish partners, who are acting in accordance with the national objectives of ensuring defense capabilities, despite open external pressure.

Our relevant departments are in contact on the further development of bilateral military-technical cooperation. Let the specialists work in peace, there is no need for vanity here.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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