Russian private jets will now be barred from UK airspace in an extension of a ban that previously included Russia’s major airline, Aeroflot.
“Putin’s actions are unlawful and anyone benefiting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not welcome here,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Friday evening.
He added that he has “strengthened” the previous flight ban on UK airspace to now include any “Russian private jet.” The ban is effective immediately, meaning private flights cannot enter UK airspace or touch down there.
Putin’s actions are unlawful and anyone benefitting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not welcome here. I’ve strengthened our ban in the UK so that no Russian private jet can fly in UK airspace, or touchdown – effective immediately.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) February 25, 2022
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had already suspended Aerflot’s foreign carrier permit “until further notice” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military actions in Ukraine. Putin announced he ordered a “special military operation” in Donbass on Thursday morning, insisting the offensive is needed to protect the people of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics from what Moscow sees as “Ukraine aggression.”
The Russian leader said the ultimate goal of the operation, which has since extended to the Ukrainian territories, was to “demilitarize and denazify” the country. Ukraine, the UN, NATO, the US, and the EU all denounced the military action as an “unprovoked” aggression.
The UK had previously announced a ban on Aeroflot as part of a series of economic sanctions against Russia over its attack on Ukraine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday the sanctions were meant to “hobble” the Russian economy, and on Friday, he pushed NATO allies to take their own sanctions further, advocating for banning Russia from the SWIFT payment system, which connects financial institutions around the world. He also said Putin and his foreign minister will be personally sanctioned “imminently.”
Russia responded to the original UK ban by announcing that all UK-registered flights were banned from their airspace. Aeroflot also announced on Friday flights to London and the Irish capital city of Dublin had been axed.