EU, Russia trade blows banning airlines and stopping flights

Numerous European countries have announced bans on Russian airlines, while others consider their stance or push for an EU-wide ban. 

The countries that have prohibited Russian airlines from entering their airspace now form a barrier across the continent, starting with Finland in the North, and ending with Bulgaria in the south. 

Poland, Bulgaria and Czechia have closed their airspaces to Russian airlines on February 25, 2022, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The move was followed by Slovenia, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on February 26.  

On February 27, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria also announced that they were preparing to close their airspace to Russian flights, in addition to pushing for an EU-wide ban. 

In a retaliatory move, Russia then announced a ban on airlines from most of the aforementioned countries, leading to what could become a complete stop to flights between Russia and EU. 

Meanwhile, many major European airlines, including Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), KLM, and Austrian Airlines, announced that they would be temporarily suspending flights to Russia. 

The exchange of bans and suspensions between Russia and Western countries began on February 24, 2022, when the United Kingdom announced that it would be placing a package of sanctions on Russia, including prohibiting Russian airlines from entering its airspace. Russia responded with a similar ban on UK-registered airplanes.  

UPDATE 02-27-2022, 21:00 (UTC +3): In the evening of February 27, 2022, the President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that the entire EU airspace will be shut down for Russian-owned, registered or controlled aircraft.

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