Update on "Not sure to do about upcoming reservaation from Russian Guest

To those following an earlier thread where I was asking advice on how to deal with an upcoming reservation from a guest living in eastern Russia… here is an update.
First – a bit more background. The guest has been using Airbnb for a while and has a 5.0 average rating from hosts.

After thinking it through, I sent him the following note (names removed):
HI [Guest],

This is [host] and [host], your Airbnb hosts for July 8 - 16.

We look forward to seeing you this summer and hope that international events will not disrupt your travel plans. If you find you are forced to cancel your reservation with us because of unanticipated restrictions on international air travel, there is no penalty or cancellation fee as long as you do so by June 7, so you do have three months before that becomes a consideration.

If you do cancel your reservation, your pre-paid accommodations refund will be handled entirely by Airbnb – they do not forward payment to hosts until the day that guest arrives at the property. It is not clear to us whether banking sanctions will impair their ability to issue refunds if you paid from an account or a credit card associated with a Russian bank. The news stories we hear describe how a sanctions firewall is being built to prevent the transfer of funds between western banks and banks that are Russian-owned – including Russian-owned banks located in the west.

Yesterday several American journalists working in Russia reported they were asked by their hotels to pay in advance part way through their stay because the hotels “were not sure how long they would be able to process credit cards” that moved funds between the USA and Russia. We cannot offer you any advice on this point other than to make you aware that if sanctions on air travel or tourist visas prevent you and your family from travelling to Canada this summer it is Airbnb, not the hosts, which would be responsible for issuing refunds to your credit card or bank account.

We hope that the world has returned to normal by summer and that sanctions on international banking, international air travel and tourist visas will be finished and done with, and we will welcome you and your family to our Airbnb as planned. In the meantime, please contact us if you have any questions about our property or your reservation.

Warm regards,

His response blew us away:

Now is tough time . Thank you for your care and support.
I don’t plan to cancel my trip. I don’t know if it will happen, but I will do my best.

Then he added a photo of a man standing in front of what looks like an eastern-orthodox church holding a hand-letter sign (in Russian) with a notation talking to three policemen

This is me in a solitary picket against the war in my town

I got goosebumps, and wrote him back that we are proud to have him as a guest, and offering to send him jpg screen grabs of BBC news reports



OMG I hope he’s not thrown in prison!

“We hope that the world has returned to normal by summer and that sanctions on international banking, international air travel and tourist visas will be finished and done with”
If Russia wins the war, the banking sector there should still have all sanctions against it and be unable to operate internationally, at the very least, jmho.

From Canadian television:

Mercedes Stephenson


Spent to day on two borders - one between Latvia and Belarus and the other between Latvia and Russia. Common theme: nobody we talked to Latvian, Russian or Belarusian wanted the war.


Dan Barkhuff VFRL.org

From a Ukrainian friend” Received news from my friends in Russia - anyone caught demonstrating against the war is liable to be charged with treason punishable with up to 15 years imprisonment. Anyone caught aiding Ukrainian refugees in Russia faces the same changes.”

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Your guest is a brave man. Maybe he’ll make it to Canada this summer and defect. Thanks for the update.

This invasion does not seem to have the support of the Russian people. Or anyone else. Even his few ally countries have declined sending troops.


Thank you for the update. You future guest’s reply gave me goosebumps too. I hope everything goes well for him.


I think that Air is going to have to draft a war footing policy regarding all Russian traveler accounts. Likely there are thousands of them in limbo right now and Visa just announced that it is cutting off Russia. If there is a cancellation how will Air return the monies to the traveler?
“Visa and Mastercard cut off Russian banks from their network”

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It’s going to be a big mess, for sure.

Hopefully Putin will just drop dead of a heart attack or something asap. Or his own advisors will off him.

Now I just read that his own intelligence operatives alerted Zelensky of a planned assassination by the Chechen troops, so it was averted.


One of the reasons I wrote my guest was to warn him this was probably coming, and if he didn’t cancel now, he risked being unable to fly out of Russia and unable to collect his refund


And it’s coming down on Russian hosts, too. One just posted on another forum saying he has bookings, how is he going to get paid?

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I’m in tears. How brave and how crazy this all is.

I’m from NYC and have always thought that the UN was a waste of space and time. (let’s not rant on this, it’s not the entire point of my reply).

But watching the ENTIRE diplomatic delegation of EVERY country stand up and leave the UN when the Russian ambassador was set to speak gave me goosebumps - and hope that maybe someone in Russia and in Putin’s entourage will figure out a way to put a stop to this soon.

Interesting “man on the street” interviews with Russians. The young ones, the 20 somethings all think that Putin is battling the American occupation of Ukraine instead of invading a sovereign nation.

He can’t fly out of Russia now. No place to land except possibly China.

It’s crazy.

Why Russian air travel is DONE for the duration.


Being advocated in another Airbnb host group:

If you have a $100 voucher you don’t plan to use,

Find an in-home stay host in the :ukraine: Ukraine
Book a stay using your voucher
Notify host you aren’t coming but this booking is to show your support


I like this idea in theory, but am a little nervous about it in practice. And I don’t need a SH voucher to do this. The rates are so low I can book a week for $100. Wouldn’t it be great if Airbnb waived their fees for Ukraine bookings?

I just went to Twitter to see about tweeting in support of Airbnb waiving their fees and found this.

So maybe I’ll wait and see if Airbnb makes this an additional initiative.


I know they’re doing the Airbnb.org stays (but only 100, 000) and those won’t have service fees. But I just looked a few places in different areas in Ukraine and they all had $0 service fees when I put in dates. Maybe they are doing that but maybe they are assuming it was an airbnb.org stay. I don’t know.

I tried a few and they all looked like that.

I’m going to book some place! I like the idea.

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Thanks, I just checked and I see no service fee for the place I spotted near Kyiv.

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I’m thinking. Should we book and then cancel? But that would require a firm cancelation policy so that they could keep the full booking amount. However, if we don’t cancel, are we taking away a safe place for someone else that might need it, someone there?

What do you think? I want to make sure that I’m only helping, not hurting.

If I tell the person I’m not staying then they know they can offer to someone else? I just booked the only night available for March at a private room on the outskirts of Kyiv. Their listing wasn’t in English so don’t know how good the communication will be. I told them if they have internet and can send me a resolution request I will send an added $50. Now I’m looking for some other listings and was even looking at experiences and found this:


So obviously we have to be on the lookout for scammers. I’m not saying this is one but I’m only going to consider profiles with an established review record.


It must be a successful campaign or the hosts have closed their calendars for now. Using “I’m flexible” to search for a weekend I can’t find anything open until April.