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2 Russian travel agencies bankrupt in sanctions squeeze over Ukraine

Two Russian travel operators declared bankruptcy as sanctions over Ukraine weaken the ruble and curb demand for foreign travel, particularly among state employees.

Moscow-based Labirint suspended operations Saturday, while Intaer followed Tuesday, cutting off services to about 30,000 customers who bought trips to destinations including Greece, Turkey and Egypt, according to the Federal Tourism Agency.

The agency has organized the return of 5,500 stranded tourists and is working to bring back an additional 16,000, acting head Oleg Safonov said. As well as the demise of the tour operators, 36 charter flights from Russia have been canceled, he said.

The United States and Europe have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Russian officials, businessmen and companies, and moved last week to squeeze the nation's finance, energy and defense industries.

State-run flag carrier OAO Aeroflot has suspended flights by its low-cost unit because European companies annulled leasing, servicing and insurance contracts. -- Bloomberg News

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