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27 Feb, 2022 02:33

More European countries close airspace to Russian planes

France, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Austria are the latest to announce bans
More European countries close airspace to Russian planes

France and Norway have announced that they will close their airspace to Russian aircraft amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine, thus joining a growing list of European countries that have already imposed restrictions on Russian airlines. Moscow has vowed a reciprocal response.

France is shutting its airspace to all Russian aircraft and airlines from this evening on. To the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe responds with total unity,” French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Twitter.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt announced that following consultations with neighboring Nordic countries, Norway is also closing its skies to Russian aircraft.

“Shocking Russian attacks on Ukraine overnight. Ireland will move to shut off Irish airspace to all Russian aircraft. We encourage other EU partners to do the same,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney tweeted on Sunday morning.

Austrian Transport Minister Leonere Gewessler said that Austria “supports the EU-wide blocking of airspace for Russian aircraft,” and that it would “immediately block” all Russian planes from its airspace.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod has issued a similar statement, announcing that “Denmark will be closing its airspace for Russian aircraft.” He added that his country would “push for an EU-wide ban.”

On Saturday evening Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure announced that Transport Minister Volker Wissing “supports the blocking of German airspace for Russian aircraft” and had “ordered everything to be prepared for this.”

Additionally, German airline Lufthansa canceled all upcoming flights to Russia and announced that “flights that are in Russian airspace” would “leave it again shortly.”

Finland's Minister of Transport Timo Harakka also announced his government would close Finland's airspace to Russian aircraft on Saturday.

Italy, the Netherlands, Iceland, Belgium, North Macedonia, Denmark, and Sweden have also announced that they are closing off their skies to Russian aircraft. They are the latest in a string of European countries that have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft, including the United Kingdom, Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, among others.

Russia responded by closing its own airspace to the countries.

On Sunday, Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport said the “unfriendly decisions of the aviation authorities of Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Estonia” had meant Russia would be introducing its own flight restrictions on those countries.