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Kaliningrad Conscripts Left Stranded After Football Fans Bought Up Flights

Drafted soldiers from Kaliningrad got stuck in Moscow since no low-cost flights were available to their home region. Sergei Porter

Soldiers from Kaliningrad who completed their duty in other parts of Russia became stuck in Moscow because there were no tickets to their home region that met the requirements of their military stipends, an organization of soldiers' mothers said Friday.

Ticket vendors at Moscow airports said low-cost flights to Kaliningrad were bought up by football fans traveling to the European championships in Poland via the Russian exclave, Kaliningrad Soldiers' Mothers Committee head Maria Bontsler told Interfax.

She said the committee suggested that the young men appeal to the airports' military commandants, but said that had not solved the problem.

The soldiers cannot return home by train because they would need to travel through Lithuania, a trip that requires a foreign-travel passport, which they do not have.

Bontsler said her group was preparing a letter to the defense minister and to human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin in connection with the matter.

"The Defense Ministry should return to their parents [our] sons who did their duty for the motherland," Bontsler told the news agency.

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