Ukraine Wants Russians Banned From EU Flights

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In a move that will escalate tensions between Kiev and Moscow, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal has announced plans to lobby the European Union (EU) for the closure of its airspace to Russian and Belarusian nationals.

In a sign that Ukraine intends to wield diplomatic pressure against its Eastern neighbor, Shmigal said Kiev is hoping to thus disrupt Moscow’s logistics and cause discomfort to Russian tourists, the news outlet Unian reported.

RT reports: The EU banned Russian airlines from flying over its territory soon after the start of the conflict in February 2022. The bloc, as well as the US and several other Western nations, have also put in place sanctions that affect Russian carriers’ ability to purchase new jets and spare parts for Western-made aircraft already in use.

Speaking on Friday, Shmigal said that “our idea is that Russian businesses and Russian tourists shouldn’t be able to comfortably use the EU’s airspace.”

“We have discussed with partners the closure of transit for any flights to Russia and from Russia,” he added.

The Ukrainian prime minister noted that Kiev would “insist on such sanctions” and expressed hope that the Baltic states would back the initiative.

According to media reports, there have been multiple cases since last year of Russian citizens being taken off connecting flights by European airlines, apparently with no meaningful explanation.

Several cases described in the press have involved Russian tourists travelling to Latin America over EU airspace.

Among the carriers that have reportedly targeted Russian nationals are Germany’s Lufthansa, Poland’s LOT, Latvia’s Air Baltic, Finland’s Finnair, Ireland’s Ryanair and Turkish Airlines.

Niamh Harris
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