The headlines in Europe have been dominated by the imminent possible invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. It is not understood if the scaremongering is part of the US foreign policy to keep Ukraine in the spotlight and prevent Russia for making a quick incursion into Ukrainian territory without Ukrainian forces being ready or is this more a positioning from the side of Russia, to get NATO and the US to focus on the issues of great importance to Russia. Either way, it is having the desire effect of making the news.
However, in both Ukraine and Russia, the general sentiment is that a diplomatic solution appears much more probable. The build-up of troops is likely to scare off investors from Ukraine and may eventually create an internal change of power in Ukraine, without any Russian soldier ever having to set foot on Ukrainian territory.
The impact of this political posturing and uncertainty is however not deterring Russians from travelling extensively and the May holiday period is already extensively booked. Russians are no longer afraid to travel and have big plans for the summer, with Southern Europe, headed by Turkey being the favourite destination. However, travel success to attract large numbers of travellers from Russia hangs on one single factor, the recognition of Sputnik, as most international flights have already either reached pre-pandemic frequencies or have permission to. Extensive charter flight operations have also been planned and Russia has already relaxed all of the previous limitations on international travel.
21 February 2022, Moscow