Moscow Bans UK Aircraft From Using Russian Airspace in Retaliation for Aeroflot Sanctions
08:39 GMT 25.02.2022 (Updated: 12:14 GMT 25.02.2022)
Britain slapped sanctions on Russia on Thursday over Moscow's special operation to protect the people of Donbass and clear Ukraine of neo-Nazis. The restrictions target over 100 Russian individuals and Russian national air carrier, Aeroflot.
Moscow has banned UK aircraft from using Russian airspace, including for transit purposes, the Federal Air Transport Agency announced on Friday. The restrictions also cover all aircraft associated with Britain.
"This step was taken in accordance with the provisions of the Intergovernmental Air Services Agreement between Russia and the UK as a response to unfriendly moves by the UK aviation authorities regarding the restriction on regular flights of aircraft owned, leased, or operated by a person associated with Russia or registered in Russia", the agency said in a statement.
The agency noted that Moscow had sent a proposal to London to hold consultations regarding flights between the countries, noting that it was turned down.
Britain's refusal to negotiate has prompted Russia to take tit-for-tat measures "in accordance with the provisions of the intergovernmental agreement on air traffic between Russia and the UK".
Aeroflot (Russian Airlines), Russia's flagship carrier and largest airline, was targeted in the latest package of British sanctions. The UK banned Aeroflot flights in the country, among other sanctions that targeted the Russian bank VTB and state company Rostec.
Announcing the restrictions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson boasted they were designed to "squeeze Russia from the global economy" and cited Moscow's special operation in Ukraine.
An operation was announced by President Putin on Thursday after the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk pleaded for assistance in the fight with the ever growing military pressure from the Ukrainian Army. The Russian president stressed the operation is pursuing the goal of the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine, as well as preventing the genocide of Russian-speaking people in the country.
The Russian Defence Ministry has said that the operation was targeting the military infrastructure of Ukraine, stressing the civilian population was not in danger. Russia has consistently underlined it has no plans to "occupy" its neighbour.