Russia closes airspace for airlines from 36 countries

The Federal Air Transport Agency has banned flights over Russia without special permission to air carriers from 36 countries, the agency’s press service said. This was a mirror response to the restrictions that the states began to introduce after the start of the military operation in the Donbass.

“In accordance with the norms of international law, as a response to the ban of European states on the operation of flights of civil aircraft operated by Russian air carriers and / or registered in Russia, a restriction has been introduced on the operation of flights by air carriers of 36 states,” the message says.

Restrictions are imposed on carriers from 28 EU countries – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia , Slovenia, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Estonia.

In addition, flights over Russia are prohibited for airlines from eight non-EU countries – Albania, Anguilla, Britain, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey, Canada and Norway. Flights from these countries can be carried out with a special permit issued by the Federal Air Transport Agency or the Russian Foreign Ministry, the agency noted.

On February 27, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced a ban on flights by Russian airlines in all EU airspace – this measure is part of a new package of sanctions. “We are closing EU airspace to Russian aircraft. We are imposing a ban on all aircraft owned by Russia, registered in Russia or controlled by Russia. These planes will not be able to land, take off or fly over EU territory,” she said. Von der Leyen also clarified that the ban applies to all aircraft, including private business jets.

Poland and the Czech Republic were the first among European countries to announce the closure of airspace on February 25, the next day Latvia and Estonia introduced similar measures. On February 25, the Federal Air Transport Agency banned British aircraft from entering Russian airspace. This was a response to the sanctions imposed by the government of the kingdom against the Aeroflot airline.

Western countries have closed their airspace to Russia amid the decision of President Vladimir Putin to launch a military operation in the Donbass. So, on February 21, Putin announced the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), and the next day he signed federal laws on the ratification of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance treaties with these republics, which include military assistance.

On February 24, Putin announced the start of a military operation in the Donbass. The president called its goal the protection of people who “are subjected to bullying, genocide by the Kiev regime.” At the same time, he noted that Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine, but Moscow will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of this country. The EU, US, UK, Canada and a number of other states have condemned this move by Russia. They called on the country to withdraw its military contingent from Ukraine and start negotiations, and also imposed financial, economic and personal sanctions against Russia.

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