Russian flights no longer allowed into Ukraine

Ukraine fights back to last month's ban, refuses to allow Russian flights enter Ukraine starting later this month

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Kiev said Monday it was banning all Russian airlines from flying into Ukraine from October 25 in a tit-for-tat response to Moscow's decision to impose a similar ban last month.

The punitive measure appeared to concern only two carriers -- Siberia's UTair and the tiny Saratov Airlines -- because Kiev had earlier barred bigger Russian firms in reprisal for Moscow's annexation of Crimea last year.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on September 16 blacklisted Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot and three other state-held companies that offer regular flights to the war-torn former Soviet republic.

A spokeswoman for the State Air Service in Kiev said the Russian carriers would not be allowed to land in Ukraine but would still be permitted to cross its airspace to other destination points.

The decision underscores tensions between the two neighbours that persist despite ongoing efforts to find a political solution to the 18-month separatist crisis in Ukraine that Kiev blames on Moscow.

Travelers will now be able to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border only by vehicle or train.

The only other option is to fly via one of the three Baltic nations or some other country with relatively convenient access to Russia.