Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the European Union will close its airspace to Russian airlines and private jets due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The ban was decided on Sunday by the bloc’s foreign ministers. The decision is among several actions announced by the foreign ministers after their meeting in Brussels.
“We are shutting down the EU airspace for Russians. We are proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian registered, or Russian-controlled aircraft. These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off, or overfly the territory of the EU,” von der Leyen told a news conference.
Many European countries had already announced they would close their airspace to Russian planes.
Finland and Belgium were among the most recent to take the step, saying earlier they would join other European countries in ramping up sanctions against Moscow, officials said.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, “is preparing to close its airspace to Russian air traffic,” Transport Minister Timo Harakka said on Twitter on February 26.
He did not state when the measure would take effect.
Belgian Prime Minster Alexander De Croo said on February 27 that the country “has decided to close its airspace to all Russian airlines.”
De Croo said on Twitter that “our European skies are open skies. They’re open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress.”
Several other countries, including Germany, France, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Britain, Romania, and Poland, had already closed their airspace to Russian flights, forcing westbound Russian planes to make enormous diversions.
“France is shutting its airspace to all Russian aircraft and airlines from this evening on,” French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Twitter.
Air France-KLM said it is suspending flights to and from Russia as well as the overflight of Russian airspace until further notice as of February 27.
Canada also said on February 27 it had shut its airspace to Russian aircraft effective immediately, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said on Twitter.
Germany’s Transport Ministry said it would close its airspace to Russian planes and airlines for three months from February 27, with the exception of humanitarian aid flights.
Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are also closing their airspace to Russian airliners.
Moscow, for its part, has also banned planes from those countries from flying over its territory.
With reporting by AFP and Reuters.