Pregnant Russian women seeking citizenship in Argentina, according to officials.

In recent months, more than 5,000 pregnant Russian women have entered Argentina, including 33 on a single flight on Thursday, according to officials.

According to the national migration agency, the most recent arrivals were all in their last weeks of pregnancy.

It is believed that the women wish for their children to be born in Argentina in order to obtain Argentinian citizenship.

Recent increases in arrivals have been attributed by local media to the conflict in Ukraine.

The head of Argentina’s migration agency, Florencia Carignano, told La Nacion that three of the 33 women who arrived in Buenos Aires on a single flight on Thursday were detained due to “problems with their documentation,” joining three others who arrived on Wednesday.

She stated that the Russian women initially claimed they were visiting Argentina as tourists.

“In these instances, it was determined that they were not here for tourism-related activities. They admitted it for themselves.”

She stated that Russian women desired Argentinian citizenship for their children because it provided greater freedom than a Russian passport.

“They come to Argentina, register their children as Argentine citizens, and then leave. Our passport is extremely secure worldwide. It allows [passport-holders] visa-free entry to 171 countries “Ms Carignano said.

Having an Argentine child also accelerates the naturalization process for parents. Currently, Russians can travel to only 87 countries without a visa.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2014, it has become more difficult for Russians to travel to a number of Western countries.

The EU and Russia suspended their visa facilitation agreement in September of last year, resulting in the need for additional documentation, longer processing times, and more stringent rules regarding the issuance of visas.

A number of countries, including all EU member states bordering Russia, have suspended tourist visas for Russians.

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A lawyer for the three women detained on Thursday stated that they are “falsely imprisoned” because they are suspected of being “fake tourists.” This is a term that “does not exist in our legislation,” as stated by Christian Rubilar.

“These women who have not committed a crime or violated a migration law are being illegally deprived of their liberty,” he added.

Since then, the women have been released.

La Nacion attributed the dramatic increase in arrivals of Russian citizens to the conflict in Ukraine, stating that “in addition to fleeing war and their country’s health service, [Russian women] are attracted by their [right of] visa-free entry to Argentina, as well as the high-quality healthcare and variety of hospitals.”

Russian citizens’ “birth tourism” in Argentina appears to be a lucrative and well-established practice.

A Russian-language website viewed by the BBC offers a variety of birthing packages in Argentina for expectant mothers. The website promotes services such as personalized birth plans, airport pick-ups, Spanish lessons, and discounts on stays at “the best hospitals in the capital of Argentina.”

The packages range from “economy class,” which begins at $5,000 (£4,144), to “first class,” which begins at $15,000. (£12,433)

According to the company’s website, its founder has facilitated birth tourism and provided migration assistance since 2015, and the company claims to be “100% Argentinian.”

La Nacion reported on Saturday that Argentinian police have been conducting raids as part of an investigation into a “million-dollar business and illicit network” that allegedly provided pregnant Russian women and their partners with fraudulent documents issued in record time to allow them to settle in Argentina.

The service reportedly cost up to $35,000 (£29,011), according to police.

No arrests were made, but police reportedly seized laptops, tablets, immigration documents, and significant amounts of cash.

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