Embassy in Moscow updates Dutch nationals about situation in Russia

The Dutch embassy in Moscow has advised Dutch nationals to leave Russia. It is vital that Dutch nationals who intend to remain, stay well-informed about the latest developments. This was the message given by Gilles Plug, the Dutch ambassador in Moscow, during an online meeting today with Dutch nationals in Russia.

The embassy and the consulate-general in St Petersburg held the online meeting to answer the questions of Dutch people living in Russia. Some 370 Dutch nationals accepted the invitation sent via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Service.

Ambassador Gilles Plug called on Dutch nationals to consider whether they need to remain in Russia and to make a well-considered and timely decision. People who decide to stay are responsible for ensuring they stay well-informed. ‘Keep your eyes and ears open. And register with the embassy, so that we can inform you of the latest developments.’

Travel advice

Last week the colour code of the travel advisory for Russia was changed to orange and red, depending on the region. If a region is orange this means essential travel only. If a region is red, all travel to that region should be avoided.

Ambassador Gilles Plug stressed that the travel advisory had not been changed due to the security situation. ‘Due to present uncertainty and the possible consequences of sanctions, such as reduced availability of money and disruptions to air travel, Dutch nationals are advised not to stay in Russia unless this is absolute necessary.’

Stay alert

The embassy also stressed that the situation may change quickly. Dutch nationals are advised to follow the news closely and to register with the embassy. ‘It’s uncertain what the future holds,’ ambassador Gilles Plug said. ‘There may be more sanctions that further restrict everyday life.’ In addition, the embassy is advising people to avoid protests and crowds.

‘And remember that your bank cards may not be accepted. So make sure you have enough euros or US dollars and roubles in cash.’

Leaving Russia

A number of people at the meeting asked whether the Netherlands will be evacuating people if the situation escalates. The ambassador explained that this is not an option.

At the moment, Dutch nationals can still reach the EU by crossing the border into Finland, Latvia or Estonia in their own car. They can also fly to Netherlands via countries that have not closed their airspace to flights from Russia. ‘But the distance will be greater, so expect higher costs and longer travel times. And the situation may change quickly, meaning opportunities to leave Russia may become very limited.’

Stay informed