A ray of hope, a glimmer of possibility & lots of running around.
We found a flight to Morocoo which did not have a halt in European borders but it was the next day and from Moscow. The officers at St Petersburg assured us that , not to worry, it is a simple process, just go to Moscow and talk to the officers there. They would just ask you to pay some fine and then let you go / board any flight.
Sounded simple, doable, and we jetted off to Moscow , totally unaware of the time.