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Thousands of Russians stranded abroad after tour operator fails

Published on Aug 5, 2014 2:00 AM

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia is striving to bring back nearly 16,000 tourists stranded abroad after the latest in a string of travel companies failed amid strains over the crisis in Ukraine, tourism officials said Monday.

With Western sanctions threatening to tip Russia’s ailing economy into a recession and the value of the rouble taking a beating, the number of Russians travelling abroad has been cut by as much as half, according to industry sources.

The Labirint (Labyrinth) company announced Saturday it had halted operations, leaving 27,000 Russians “abroad without return tickets,” the Tourhelp service of Russian foreign tour agencies said Monday.

Officials said that after making emergency arrangements they had been able to bring a third home, cutting the number stuck abroad to just under 16,000.

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