Ukraine, under
from Russian forces along its eastern borders, shut down its airspace
for all civilian flights Thursday. The country issued a NOTAM, Notice to Air Missions,
a note to pilots, air traffic controllers and airlines on not flying into
Ukraine’s airspace citing safety risks. The Ukraine State Air Traffic services
said, on its website, that civilian flight ops would end from 0045 GMT.

Further, Russia
has announced the closure of its airspace
for civilian flights on its western
border. The shutting down of airspaces comes after Russian President Vladimir
Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukrainian territory, which he
claimed was being undertaken for the safety of civilians. 

“The use of
airspace on Russia’s western border with Ukraine and Belarus has been
temporarily suspended due to the high threat to the safety of flights of
civilian aircraft after the use of weapons and military equipment,” the Russian
NOTAM read, according to Al Jazeera.   

Meanwhile, EASA,
the European Union Safety Agency, said the airspace in the radius of 100
nautical miles could pose risks to safety. “The presence and possible use of a
wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a high risk for civil
operating at all altitudes and flight levels, Reuters reported quoting
the agency.

On Thursday,
Vladimir Putin announced that he has decided to conduct a special military
operation. “Its goal is to protect to people who have been subjected to
bullying and genocide…for the last eight years. And for this, we will strive
for demilitiarisation and denazification of Ukraine.”

He added he wanted
to bring to court those who have committed numerous bloody crimes against
civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation. Ukraine,
however, has summarily dismissed the accusations of genocide and said that
Putin was looking for an artificial pretext to attack.