Ukraine’s national airline has cancelled a special flight taking seasonal contract workers to the UK, where they can earn four times as much as at home.

The Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight was scheduled to leave Kiev for London today. But with very short notice, the state aviation agency barred the flight.

Over a hundred Ukrainians, most of whom have six-month work permits in the UK, were left stuck at the airport.

Ukraine remains under lockdown until 12 May with numerous restrictive measures. However, some special flights upon request are still allowed to be operated.

“We were told by the airline that they are fighting for our right to go for work to the UK. It’s not clear what we do now,” Igor Petrenko, one of the stuck workers, told the BBC.

He was hired to work in an agriculture job until October.

The Ukrainian government has said it won’t help other countries with flights for seasonal workers. Instead, it encouraged Ukrainians to stay and work at home.

“In Ukraine the first priority is safety and health of our citizens. Amid [the] pandemic any trip brings risks of contraction, especially when it comes to flight,” said Ukrainian foreign affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba.