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Europe, Canada close airspace to Russian planes

Russia has also banned flights from several European countries.

Published: February 28, 2022 9:45am

Updated: February 28, 2022 10:50am

European countries and Canada moved Sunday to close their airspace to Russian planes, another intended punitive measure to pressure Russia leader Vladimir Putin to halt his invasion of Ukraine.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the collective of European countries, would close its airspace to Russian traffic, which was quickly followed by an announcement from Russian airline Aeroflot that it would cancel all flights to European destinations. 

The U.S. has yet to follow suit but is reportedly considering similar action. The U.S. has repeatedly told American citizens in Russia to leave on commercial flights, and issued warnings that airlines are increasingly limiting the ways out of the country.

Russia has responded by barring airlines from England, Bulgaria and Poland from entering its airspace and is expected to further retaliate.

Global aviation is now attempting to redirect some of its international routes to avoid Russian airspace. Air France says it will temporarily suspend flights to and from China, Japan and South Korea as it figures out how to avoid Russian territory.

Finnair says flights to those locations will also be canceled through March 6 as it maps out an alternative routes. 

If Russia barred United States airlines from flying into Russian airspace, it would dramatically lengthen some international flights that would be forced to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Canada has also closed its airspace to Russia, though there were no direct flights between Russia and Canada, several Russian flights a day formerly used Canadian airspace.

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