OREANDA-NEWSRussia's flagship carrier Aeroflot has been secretly flying passengers abroad for nearly a month despite state-mandated grounded flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vedomosti business daily reported on June 24.

Russia grounded nearly all international flights in late March to slow the coronavirus, allowing only special flights evacuating Russians from abroad and other government-authorized flights. Aeroflot has suspended ticket sales for international flights until August 1, when it said there would be more clarity about when Russia would lift its ban.

Aeroflot has been operating flights to New York, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Seoul and Tel Aviv since at least early June, registering these flights as cargo.

It is reported that tickets go on sale less than a week before the flights and are exponentially more expensive than similar flights within Russia. The flights are reported to return empty.

That's said, thousands of Russians thought to be either dual nationals or those with permanent residency have reportedly traveled abroad despite border closures.

According to the Aeroflot's booking system, which Oreanda-News got acquainted with, it is possible to fly from Moscow to New York on June 28 or 30. In addition, return tickets are also available on the airline's website. It is possible to return from New York to Moscow starting from August 1.