Canada and Europe on Sunday said they would close their airspace to Russian airlines after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, raising the pressure on the United States to do the same.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would shut down its airspace for planes owned, registered or controlled by Russians, “including the private jets of oligarchs.”
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Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, said his nation was closing its airspace to all Russian planes to hold the country accountable for an unprovoked attack on its neighbour.
The European Union action came after many of its member countries had said they were barring Russian planes or planned to do so by Sunday night.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted that European skies are “open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress.”
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“There is no room in Dutch airspace for a regime that applies unnecessary and brutal violence,” Mark Harbers, the Netherlands’ minister of infrastructure and waterworks, said on Twitter.
A handful of European nations including Spain, Greece and Turkey had resisted closing their airspace before von der Leyen’s announcement.
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Robert Mann, an aviation consultant in New York, said the moves by the European Union and Canada would put added pressure on the US to also bar Russian flights.
“It is difficult to understand why we are last to move, both operationally and financially,” he said.
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Transport Canada later said that an Aeroflot flight violated the prohibition and that it would “not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations.”
As more airlines cancelled flights in and out of Russia, and more countries blocked Russian airlines, the US embassy in Moscow said Americans there “should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.”