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Greek Consulate Overwhelmed With Applications for May Holidays

A view of Santorini, Greece.

The Greek Consulate in Moscow is unable to cope with the number of documents submitted by Russians intending to travel in time for the May holidays, Interfax news agency reported Monday.

The consulate may have received more than 10,000 passports, according to the Russian Union of Travel Industry spokeswoman Irina Tyurina, but currently processes about 800 passports daily.

“It’s easy to calculate how many days are needed to issue 10,000 visas. Employees do not have enough time to handle this number of incoming requests,” Tyurina said on Monday.

Typically, each of two Greek visa centers in Moscow receives around 400 visitors daily, but last Friday applicants totaled 2,600. Hopeful holidaymakers stood in line outside the visa center on Nikitsky Bulvar for five hours, Interfax reported.

“The consulate does not currently have the additional staff that the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs usually hires during high season. We only have 3 1/2 working days left before the May holidays,” Tyurina added.

The high number of applications is a direct result of the travel bans imposed by Russia. In November 2015, a ban was put on all travel to Egypt after a Russian plane was brought down by a terrorist bombing over the Sinai peninsula. Similarly, a ban was imposed on travel to Turkey after a Russian Su-24 attack jet was shot down in Syria by the Turkish Air Force.

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