Ukraine rejects Russian offer to resume flights

© Valentyn Ogirenko
Kiev has rejected an offer from Rosaviation, the Russian state aviation authority, to negotiate the re-opening of air services. The Ukraine government described the Russian offer as “unacceptable”.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure acknowledged the notification from Rosaviation and said negotiations could only start if Russian airlines stop flying to Crimea and pay all the penalties for those flights.  Ukraine imposed fines on Russia for the so-called ‘violations of airspace over Crimea’ this year.

The ending of Crimea flights is the latest demand from Kiev, which had earlier insisted on the resumption of Ukrainian air travel to Russia as a condition for talks.

Russia and Ukraine held talks over the air traffic issue last week in Brussels but didn’t manage to find a compromise. Despite Moscow’s offers to continue air travel between the countries, Kiev banned all flights from Russia on October 25.

Russian airlines Aeroflot, Transaero, S7, Red Wings, Gazpromavia, Rossiya and Ural Airlines were all banned.  UTair was later added to the list.

Russian aviation officials called the move an “an act of madness” and retaliated immediately with their own ban on Ukrainian airlines.

It’s the first time that the two countries have shut down air travel. About 800,000 passengers flew between Russia and Ukraine in the first eight months of 2015, according to data from Rosaviation.