Speaking during a press conference yesterday (Mar 15), Evgeny Tomikhin, Russian ambassador to Thailand, said the majority are in tourist destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya of Chon Buri, and Koh Samui of Surat Thani with the embassy trying to secure extended visas for them.
He said he was aware of 1,500 letters having been issued to extend their visas, adding that the embassy was liaising with the Russian community here should any Russian nationals need further assistance including cheap or free accommodation, reports the Bangkok Post.
At the presser, the Russian embassy addressed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis and bilateral relations between Russia and Thailand for the first time since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24.
Tomikhin said that repatriation flights are being discussed with further direct consultation between the governments of Russia and Thailand expected imminently.
There are now approximately 6,500 Russian tourists stuck in Thailand due to international airspace restrictions leading many airlines, including Russia’s flagship Aeroflot, to cancel services.
Thailand is among the 140 countries that voted for a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and deploring Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine”.
When asked about how Thailand’s stance on the issue would play out on Russian-Thai diplomacy, Tomikhin stated that Russia understood Thailand’s decision and the two countries’ diplomatic ties would not be affected.
During the presser, Tomikhin stressed Russia is not pursuing all-out war and that its forces are only targeting military infrastructure while making every effort to avoid civilian casualties.
“We would like to see a peaceful, friendly Ukraine,” Mr Tomikhin said, “Not a NATO springboard against Russia.”
Meanwhile, outside the embassy in Bangkok, a group protesting the invasion conducted a rally. They said they had been there for many days but have yet to receive any kind of formal response to their grievance.
Mykola Boichok, a Russian-Ukrainian living in Bangkok, said he wished the protest would draw more public attention from the Thai public and media.
Among the protesters was a Russian lady, Ivavo Frankivsk, holding a “Stop Russia” placard.
She called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion.
“I feel sorry that the Russian government did this to people,” she added.