Russia and Ukraine impose mutual flight bans

A Russian-manufactured Aeroflot airliner. [Reuters]

Russia on Monday (28 September) said it would close its airspace to Ukrainian airlines from October 25 in reprisal for a ban that Ukraine has slapped on two Russian firms.

Acting on instructions from Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, the federal transport agency “has been asked to inform (Ukrainian) air companies providing flights to Russia that they will be forbidden to use Russian airspace from 25 October,” the official Tass news agency said, quoting a transport ministry spokesman.

The measure is in response to a decision by the Ukrainian authorities last week that banned the Russian companies Aeroflot and Transaero from flying into the country, also from 25 October.

Russian transit flights will also be banned if the aircraft carry military personnel or dual-use goods, under the decision announced in Kyiv.

According to a government press release, Kyiv also banned the use of Russian software in Ukrainian government agencies. The Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is quoted as saying that this concerns in particular Kaspersky Lab software.

The move – aimed at punishing Russia for its annexation of Crimea and alleged support for ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine – was branded by Moscow as an “act of madness.”

On 16 September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expanded a list of sanctions against Russian companies and individuals, targeting 400 officials and 90 companies.

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