Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Poland to close airspace to Russian flights

The announcement follows the British government's decision to ban Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot from flying over Britain. PHOTO: REUTERS

WARSAW (AFP) - The Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria each said on Friday (Feb 25) they would close their airspace to flights by Russian carriers in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The move came into effect from midnight (7am Saturday Singapore time) in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Earlier on Friday, the Polish airline LOT halted flights to Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

"As of midnight today, we are halting the traffic of all Russian airline companies in Czech airspace," Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka tweeted.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Facebook that Poland was also preparing such a resolution.

"The ban will apply from midnight," Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller later said on Twitter.

A similar decision also came into force in Bulgaria at midnight (6am Saturday Singapore time) over "the worsening military conflict and in solidarity with Ukraine".

Russian aeroplanes "may no longer enter sovereign Bulgarian airspace, including over its territorial waters", according to a Ministry of Transport statement.

It follows the British government's decision on Thursday to ban Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot from flying over Britain.

Moscow responded on Friday by banning all Britain-linked planes, including transiting flights, from Russian airspace.

Meanwhile, Moldova said on Thursday it was closing its airspace, with all flights redirected to other airports, while Belarus said it was shutting "part" of its airspace.

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