Monday, September 15, 2014

Russia threatens to shut its skies to the West

Russia threatens to shut its skies to the West

The Telegraph | September 8, 2014

Hundreds of flights to Asia every week from Britain and other European countries face disruption following a threat by Russia to close its airspace to Western carriers in response to new European Union sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The move, which would increase costs for passengers by forcing airlines to revert to more circuitous routes used during the Cold War, was signaled by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's prime minister, as the EU prepared to publish a detailed list of companies and individuals to face restrictions on their dealings with Europe.

Mr Medvedev told the Vedomosti newspaper: "I hoped that our partners would be smarter. If there are sanctions related to energy, or further limits for our financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically.

"We proceed from the fact that we have friendly relations with our partners and that is why the sky over Russia is open for flights. But if they put limits on us we will have to respond."

Today a shaky ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine extended into a third day, despite isolated outbreaks of fighting and exchanges of artillery fire.