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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Embassies Urge Expats Home

Embassies of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand urged their nationals living in Russia to make special preparations for the millennium bug and, if possible, to go home for the New Year's holiday.

Consular officials from the four countries told reporters they did not expect a major disaster, but possible disruptions in electricity, heat, telephones and other services could make life difficult in Russia's winter cold.

The United States is offering taxpayer-funded tickets home to nonessential diplomats at its embassies and consulates in Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine because of possible disruptions by the Y2K bug.

U.S. Consul General Laura Clerici said Russia and its neighbors had been singled out for special concern in part because of severe winter temperatures.

The embassies advised expatriate citizens to store food, candles, flashlights, medicine and other necessities, keep documents handy and keep in touch with their sponsoring organizations or local families to help them prepare.

People planning trips to Russia over the New Year have been advised to postpone them if possible.

Clerici said the embassies do not expect a major nuclear catastrophe or other serious disaster.

New Zealand Embassy First Secretary Graeme McGuire said there would be no better place than home for his nationals this December andJanuary.

"It's the traditional summer holiday time in New Zealand. It's the place to be."