Latvia’s air traffic statistics have fallen by 25 percent since the government announced the closure of airspace with Russia in response to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a press release from the Latvian Ministry of Transport, the total number of flights from Russia has decreased by 73 percent, while transit flights through Russia are still operating, TheSchengen.com reports.
“Together with other European countries, the airspace of Latvia was closed to commercial aircraft of carriers registered in Russia from midnight on February 27. In turn, in accordance with the decision of the Council of Europe, from February 28, the use of Latvian airspace is prohibited for all Russian citizens who control directly or indirectly in the aircraft, regardless of the country in which the aircraft is registered,” the press release explains.
The Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgar Rinkevix, had previously suspended the issuance of visas to Russian citizens, in addition to recalling the Latvian ambassador to Russia.
The Latvian government also banned three Russian televisions for war propaganda and denied entry to Nikolai Baskov, a Russian citizen who supports aggression against Ukrainian citizens.
“In light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, I decided to summon the Latvian ambassador to Russia for consultations, as well as suspend the issuance of Latvian visas to citizens of the Russian Federation, except for cases related to special humanitarian considerations,” the minister stated.
However, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury does not believe that the war in Ukraine could affect travel trends in Europe, which are increasing. In addition to Faury, most representatives of the industry think the same, noting that the situation could change if Russia decided to attack any of the NATO territories.
“I would say yes, it is very likely that the majority of world travel will recover as we expect by the end of the pandemic,” Faury said.
All EU member states imposed sanctions on Russian citizens, Greece and Portugal suspended golden visas for them, Lithuania stopped issuing visas even for health care service, and the Czech Republic, in addition to stopping issuing visas to Russians, called on European countries as well. To impose restrictive financial measures and other sanctions in order to stop the war.
In addition, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is considering banning Russian athletes from participating in the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing – a decision that will be decided soon.
According to the United Nations, at least 136 people, including 13 children, were killed during the Russian invasion, and another 400 civilians were injured, but the real number of dead is estimated to be much more.