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Russia retaliates with airspace closure for 36 countries

February 28, 2022

After the EU, UK, and Canada banned Russian aircraft from the borders, Moscow has responded in kind. Russia's top diplomat cited the move as a reason for canceling a planned trip to the UN in Geneva.

Ukaine Konflikt | Aeroflot Flugzeug
Russian airline Aeroflot has seen its stock price tumble a staggering 91% in recent daysImage: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP

Russia announced on Monday that it was closing its airspace to 36 other countries in a retaliatory move. 

All 27 European Union nations, as well as the UK and Canada, who have already closed their own airspace to Russian aircraft, were affected by the ban. 

Neither Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya nor any of the Western countries have offered a timeline as to when the ban might end. The affect on commercial airlines is expected to be significant, as Russian airspace is the main corridor of travel between Europe and East Asia.

The UK became the first country to ban Russian planes from its airspace on Friday after theRussian army invaded Ukraine.

Exceptions to the bans will be made for humanitarian aid or diplomatic missions.

What if Russia closes down its airspace to commercial flights?

In a surprise move, the government of Switzerland, which usually demures getting involved in international disputes, announced that it was joining inWestern sanctions on Monday, including forbidding entry to Russia airlines and private planes.

Despite adding the caveat that diplomatic planes would be allowed to land, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cancled a planned trip to the United Nations in Geneva on Monday. 

Citing "anti-Russian sanctions" imposed by EU countries, Lavrov nixed his planned address to the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament. He had also been due to give a press conference.

es/msh  (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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