Ukraine/Russia crises: Russian planes face near-total airspace ban to west
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Russian airlines face a near-total airspace blockade to the country’s west after an EU official said most European countries are set to impose flight bans.
A formal decision is expected on the measure later on Sunday.
With airspace curbs over Ukraine, Russian flights now have few route options for westbound journeys.
Departure boards at Moscow’s Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports showed dozens of cancellations on Sunday, including flights to Paris, Vienna and Kaliningrad.
Russia’s S7 Airlines said on Facebook it would cancel flights to many of its European destinations until at least 13 March.
Aeroflot, Russia’s biggest airline, said it would cancel its services to Latvia and Romania until at least 26 March, and its Prague and Warsaw routes until 28 March.
Meanwhile, Russia has responded with tit-for-tat restrictions on countries banning its flights. Russian-owned planes, including private jets, can no longer enter the skies above the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. Russian planes have also been banned from UK airspace.
Several more EU countries have now joined the action to close airspace to Russian flights:
- Germany is imposing a three-month ban from 15:00 (14:00 GMT) on Sunday
- Italy will close its airspace to Russian aircraft, the prime minister’s office said
- Transport Minister Timo Harakka wrote on his Twitter handle that Finland, which shares an 800 mile (1,300km) border with Russia, “is preparing to close its airspace to Russian air traffic”.
Suomi valmistautuu ilmatilan sulkemiseen venäläiseltä lentoliikenteeltä. ????
— Timo Harakka ?️??? (@TimoHarakka) February 26, 2022
- Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said European skies were “open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress”, and the Netherlands will also close its airspace from Sunday evening
- Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said on his Twitter handle that his country would close its airspace and push for an EU-wide ban:
Denmark will be closing its airspace for Russian aircraft
At today’s meeting of EU ministers of foreign affairs we will push for an EU-wide ban#Russia’s unprovoked, despicable attack on #Ukraine must be met with strongest possible international sanctions & condemnation#dkpol pic.twitter.com/GJo0CphqGx
— Jeppe Kofod (@JeppeKofod) February 27, 2022
- Ireland and Austria have thrown their weight behind an EU-wide ban.