MOSCOW - Three emergency ministry airplanes carrying a total of 365 Russian citizens evacuated from Iraq arrived late Thursday evening at Ramenskoye airport in Moscow, the official ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
Most of the specialists were employees of the Russian company Tekhnopromexport. They will be accommodated at a Moscow hotel, MosNews reports.
The planes landed safely, within half an hour of each other, with the last airplane arriving at 10:15 p.m. Moscow time. The evacuation of Russian citizens from Iraq will continue Friday, the news agency reported.
The emergency ministry has said it plans to evacuate 553 Russian citizens and 263 citizens from other CIS countries who are working in Iraq on Russian contracts. Most of the 365 employees from the Russian company Interenergoservis have refused to leave Iraq.
Some of the Russian specialists said they left Iraq reluctantly. Alexander Sheluchko, an electrician, told RIA Novosti that although their flight was good, "we didn’t want to leave Iraq. The Arabs were crying when they saw us leave."
As soon as it is possible, he plans to return to the project he and his team was working on, the news agency quoted him as saying. Sheluchko said he expects to return to Iraq in about two months.
Another company worker administrating personnel in the town of Yusifia, Yuri Panferov, said that a large crowd of people followed the Russian specialists to the airplanes, and were sad to see them go. “This is not surprising, since with our departure these people lost their jobs,” Novosti quoted him as saying.