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Belgium closes airspace to Russian airlines: PM

By AFP
27 February 2022   |   10:54 am
Belgium is closing its airspace to Russian flights, the country's prime minister said on Sunday, adding to a growing number of EU countries that have done the same.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo speaks to the press as he arrives for an emergency European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on February 24, 2022, on the situation in Ukraine after Russia launched an invasion. (Photo by JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP)

Belgium is closing its airspace to Russian flights, the country’s prime minister said on Sunday, adding to a growing number of EU countries that have done the same.

“Belgium has decided to close its airspace to all Russian airlines,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted.

“Our European skies are open skies. They’re open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress.”

The restriction by Belgium follows the same step taken by other EU countries Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Slovenia, Finland and Denmark.

Russia has responded by closing its own airspace to flights operated by carriers from EU Baltic countries.

No EU-wide ban on Russian flights has been announced, and EU countries are deciding themselves for their sovereign airspace.

On Friday, an EU official briefing journalists said any broad EU ban on Russian flights using its airspace, and similar retaliatory action by Russia for its own airspace, would have serious consequences for air travel.

Air travel links between the EU and Asia, particularly China, Japan and South Korea, “would be made very difficult — not to say impossible — if one cannot overfly (Russian) national space”.