Ukraine announced the closure of its airspace for civil aviation on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched an invasion of the country. Several civilian airports, including Kyiv-Boryspil International Airport, were attacked.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure announced the closure of airspace citing “a high-security risk” in a statement on its website.
Commercial flights were also canceled in Russian cities located near Ukraine or on the shores of the Black Sea, including Rostov-on-the-Don, and Sochi.
In a surprise speech on Russian television early on February 24, 2022, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would carry out a “special military operation” in the separatist region of Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Hours later, attacks were reported all around Ukraine, including in Kyiv. The Ukrainian border guard reported a ground invasion from Belarus, 235 kilometers north of Ukraine’s capital.
In Kyiv, the first reports of explosions came from Boryspil International Airport (KBP), the country’s main airport. Unconfirmed footage shared on social media shows the airport burning.
! Ukraine’s central military command reports Russia bombed several airports, including Kyiv Boryspil, Nikolaev, Kramatorsk, Kherson. Kharkiv military airport is burning. pic.twitter.com/IOrfGZgPL4
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) February 24, 2022
“The airport is closed, all passengers at the airport have been evacuated, and the runway is blocked,” Boryspil International Airport reported on its Facebook page.
The Russian Defense Ministry, quoted by Russian news agencies, reported having destroyed the military airbases and the air defense installations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency advised air operators to “exercise extreme caution and avoid using the airspace within 100 nautical miles [185 kilometers – ed. note] of the Bielorussian and Russia-Ukraine border.”