US to ban Russian flights from American airspace

The U.S. government is banning Russian planes and airlines from American airspace amid Moscow’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. 

The orders from the U.S. Department of Transportation and its Federal Aviation Administration include “aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of, a person who is a citizen of Russia. This includes passenger and cargo flights, and scheduled as well as charter flights.” 

They will take effect by the end of Wednesday.

I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights – further isolating Russia – and adding an additional squeeze –on their economy,” President Biden said during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

President Biden: “Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more. […] Tonight I’m announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights.”

— The Hill (@thehill) March 2, 2022

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the U.S. “stands with our allies across the world in responding to Putin’s unprovoked aggression against the people of Ukraine.”

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The decision comes after the European Union (EU) announced on Sunday that it would close its airspace to Russian flights.

“They won’t be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU,” Ursula von der Leyen, who serves as president of the European Commission, said at the time, noting that the ban included “the private jets of oligarchs.”

The EU added that it would also finance weapons for Ukraine in the wake of the invasion.

Canada issued a similar order and closed its airspace to Russian flights on Sunday. 

“Effective immediately, Canada’s airspace is closed to all Russian aircraft operators. We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said at the time.  

Meanwhile, Russia has issued a similar ban on European flights in retaliation for the decision. 

Outside of the skies, other companies and businesses ranging from oil companies, media organizations, social media sites and more have cut ties with Moscow amid the deadly attack.

Updated at 9:32 p.m.

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