European countries from north to south are banning Russian planes from transiting through their airspace in protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
– Early birds –
On Friday, Britain announces an immediate ban on Russian private jets from UK airspace, in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine the day before.
The Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria each say they will ban all Russian flights from their skies, starting from midnight.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Romania follow suit on Saturday.
“There is no place for planes of the aggressor state in democratic skies,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweets.
– Austria and Germany –
Austria says on Sunday all Russian flights will no longer be able to use Austrian airspace or land at Austrian airports from 1400 GMT.
“We are doing everything to show Vladimir Putin that we do not accept his invasion of Ukraine,” Chancellor Karl Nehammer says in a tweet.
Germany says it will impose a three-month ban on all Russian flights, also from 1400 GMT on Sunday. Only humanitarian flights will be exempt.
– France -France announces it will close off its airspace from Sunday night, in response to the invasion.
– Belgium –
Belgium says it will not accept Russian aircraft either.
“Our European skies are open skies,” says Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. “They’re open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress.”
– The Nordics –
Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland say they too will not accept any Russian planes.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, “is preparing to close its airspace to Russian air traffic,” Transport Minister Timo Harakka tweets, without giving a time.
– Italy, Spain and Malta-
Italy and Spain, too, say they are shutting off their airspace. Malta says it is also doing so to show “full solidarity with Ukraine”.
– North Macedonia –
North Macedonia’s government on Sunday also bans all Russian aircraft from its skies, but says humanitarian flights will be exempted.
– Russia retaliates –
In tit-for-tat punitive measures, Russia on Sunday closes its airspace to flights operated by carriers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
A day earlier, it had closed its airspace to flights from Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic.
On Friday, it banned all UK-linked planes from its skies.