Russia flight ban: Why has Russia stopped European flights? | World | News

Russian authorities have forced Austrian Airlines to cancel its flight from Vienna to the Russian capital. Air France also cancelled its Paris to Moscow flight for the second day in a row, after it was denied permission on Wednesday to land in Russia.

Austria’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday: “The Russian reaction is absolutely incomprehensible to us.”

Several other European carriers, including KLM and a British Airways cargo flight, have been allowed to land in Russia using new routes, however.

At this stage, it is unclear if Moscow’s retaliation is temporary or signals a more lasting standoff.

The Kremlin is yet to respond to requests for an explanation.

A longstanding ban on flights could in turn lead to countermeasures against the Russian national carrier Aeroflot.

What has the reaction been from around the world?

Ryanair has labelled the forced landing an act of “aviation piracy”.

The UK and EU have urged their airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace, banned the state-owned carrier from their airports, and vowed to impose fresh economic sanctions on the Russia-supported regime.

EU foreign ministers held initial talks on Thursday on punitive measures against Belarus with the country’s lucrative potash sector high on the agenda.

Elsewhere, the USA has requested the immediate release of Mr Protasevich and his partner.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN forum that sets standards for civil aviation worldwide, is due to hold a meeting on Thursday, and has already said Belarus’s actions could have breached the Chicago Convention that governs civilian flying.

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