Some 15,000 Russians and 3,000 Ukrainians were vacationing in the Dominican Republic when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Since then, returning home has been a feat and tensions between tourists are legion.
A postcard turned nightmare. For several days, 15,000 Russians and 3,000 Ukrainians have been unable to leave the Dominican Republic, a popular destination for travelers from these two countries, where the conflict in Europe is on everyone’s mind. This is particularly the case for Anastasia, who took several days before being able to book a new return flight to Saint Petersburg. “It’s very stressful. Because if we don’t come back, there will soon be no planes to take us back.”
“I don’t want to argue with aggressive people because of the situation”
The difficulties are the same for everyone. But Anastasia does not want to talk about the war, neither with her compatriots, nor with Ukrainian nationals. “You have to differentiate between the government and the Russian population. And obviously I don’t want to argue with aggressive people because of the situation. And I find it a shame that some people are afraid of me when I’m next to me. them.”
But more than fear, it is anger and fatigue that can be read on the faces of Ukrainian tourists. “There is not a minute without resentment against the Russians. And against NATO.” Like many of their compatriots, Natali and her family were let go by their tour operator overnight. “It’s not humane. A lot of people ended up on the street. We put two Ukrainian women in our apartment for 4 days, because they had no more money.”
If the Dominican government has announced to cover the costs of Ukrainian tourists. Natali paid $10,000 for 4 nights in a hotel and 5 return tickets to Frankfurt. “We’re going home,” she said, promising to do everything to help her country.