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I'm helping a Russian friend finding options to return home from Europe later this month. With most air routes closed due to the sanctions, the best options I've found so far are flights transiting through non-EU countries like Turkey or the UAE (and quite expensive).

Are there any non-flight services (busses, trains or ferries) currently running?

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    Last week I read that there were still bus connections between Finland and St. Petersburg. Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 10:38
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    There are also direct flights by Air Serbia from Belgrade to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Sochi. Somewhat cheaper than through Turkey.
    – yeputons
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 22:36
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    There are also buses from Kaliningrad to Poland.
    – akhmeteli
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 4:46
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    You can always go via a country that has warm relations. For instance I don't believe Dubai is under sanction, and I believe Dubai-Russia is still active. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 3:04
  • Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Moscow is the popular choice from Europe.
    – AussieJoe
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 5:13

4 Answers 4

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The US State Department maintains a list of transportation options out of Russia, which include several bus options. To Helsinki they mention HH-Kuriiri, Skandinavia, Lux Express, Ecolines, and Sovavto. To Riga they mention Ecolines. To Tallinn they mention Lux Express. These companies seem to be selling tickets into Russia as well.

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    It looks like the OP is looking to get into Russia... Is the intention here that the services above may be bi-directional?
    – IronEagle
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 1:12
  • From Helsinki, Ecolines sells tickets to St. Petersburg and Moscow. HH-Kuriiri only runs between Lappeenranta and Vyborg, I believe. The Sovavto and Skandinavia websites are in Russian so I can't read much, but the search page has Finnish cities like Helsinki in the "From" dropdown. Although I did not check if there are actual search results. Lux Express does not seem to operate in Finland anymore; only Estonia and Latvia.
    – Dronir
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 6:55
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    @IronEagle well they do have to get the buses back into Russia at least, I checked and at least some of the services are selling tickets in both directions.
    – ajd
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 11:44
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Train traffic between Russia and the rest of Europe was already limited because of corona related restrictions and AFAIK, the few trains running have now all been suspended because of the war.

I am not sure if it is the only operator, but Ecolines still operates buses from Helsinki and Tallin to St. Petersburg and from Riga to Moscow. The buses seem to be sold out weeks in advance The next free seat from Riga to Moscow is on August 21th.

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    There's a couple of tickets from Panevezys to Moscow in the next couple of days, a bit more expensive and with connection. The connection is in Riga, but for some reason searching from Riga doesn't show these tickets. Get to Panevezys through Vilnius from everywhere.
    – littleadv
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 17:23
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In addition to Ecolines, it is worth checking out LUX Express. They increased their Tallinn - St Petersburg frequency when the air routes closed and at the time of writing this answer they have tickets available for the following days.

Another option is to travel by train with a connection at the same border crossing: get to Narva by train, cross the border on foot, then catch another train from Ivangorod. This would be on separate tickets.

Update: since August 18, 2022 this route may not work in the opposite direction if the traveller is a Russian national holding a visa issued by Estonia, since Estonia is placing restrictions.

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Flight to Vilnius, Vilnius to Minsk (Belarus) by bus, travel by train to Moscow.

It's likely you will have to wait a long time in the queue at the border, the entire bus trip may take up to 8 hours, so it's best to go far in advance to avoid missing the train.

Best to buy bus tickets in advance, however it's also possible to try your luck at the Vilnius bus station: sometimes there are empty seats available when passengers don't show up for the trip, can negotiate with the driver. Do check that the bus tickets were actually issued to you after making a purchase online, confirm with the bus operator if possible.

You'd need some sort of a VPN connection to access the rzd.ru website to buy train tickets because RZD seems to block access to its website from outside Russia.

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  • Or a bus Gdańsk -> Kaliningrad, and then a flight to Moscow. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 12:28

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