The US government announced on Tuesday that it would ban all Russian flights from American airspace in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision follows from similar moves taken by The European Union and Canada late last week.

 

Russian flight ban will be in place by tonight.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, said in his State of the Union address last night:

“Tonight, I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy. He has no idea what’s coming.”

The US Department of Transportation says the ban will take effect by the end of Wednesday 2 March, and will apply to all aircraft “owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of, a person who is a citizen of Russia”. Further details are yet to be released by the transport authority.

 

Following their European allies

For several days now, the world has been waiting to see if America would follow its European neighbours by closing its airspace to Russia. Britain was one of the first to act, closing its airspace a day after the invasion began alongside Poland, Czechia and Bulgaria. The next day, other European countries such as Romania and the Baltics followed suit, and on 27 February, the EU announced its package of sanctions which included the closure of their airspace. The US’s northern neighbour Canada closed its airspace on 28 February, alongside Switzerland. Only a handful of European countries have yet to close their skies to the Russians. Serbia is among them, continuing their regular flights to Russia and currently trying to increase capacity on their Russian routes.

map of airspace closures for russia
Map of European countries that have closed their airspaces to Russian aircraft | © RFE/RL

The EU also announced that it would be prohibiting all aviation exports and services to Russia, which included sales of aircraft parts and the termination of all aircraft leases. American aeroplane manufacturer Boeing has announced they will be doing the same, “suspending parts, maintenance and technical support services for all Russian Airlines”.

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