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Ukraine Closes Airspace to Civilian Flights, Including Those From EU

Authorities in Ukraine have announced that they have closed their airspace to civilian flights amid safety concerns, including battles from European Union countries.

In addition, Europe’s aviation regulator has warned airlines against operating flights in regions bordering Russia and Belarus due to military activities, reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in Ukraine, while the latter came under attack across multiple borders, according to a Ukrainian Border Service report early Thursday morning.

The service noted in this regard that “at about five in the morning, the borders of the State of Ukraine in the region with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus were attacked by Russian forces backed by Belarus.”

The same said that the attacks are taking place in the Luhansk, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Zhytomyr regions, targeting border patrols, units and checkpoints.

Ukraine’s State Air Traffic Services Corporation said the airspace was closed to flights from 0045 GMT on Thursday while it confirmed the suspension of air traffic services as well.

According to the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the airspace of Russia and Belarus can also pose safety risks.

In particular, there is a risk of deliberate targeting and misidentification of civilian aircraft. The agency emphasized that the presence and ability to use a wide range of land and air warfare systems poses a significant risk to civilian flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.

The European Space Agency stressed that the Russian Defense Ministry sent an urgent message to Ukraine warning of significant risks to aviation safety as a result of the use of weapons and military equipment as of 0045 GMT, while Ukrainian air traffic control demanded the suspension of flights.

The current situation has prompted the countries neighboring Ukraine to prepare for the influx of migrants.

“We have to be prepared for a wave of up to one million people,” said Deputy Home Minister Maciej Wosk, in this regard, according to the Guardian.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary can also receive a large number of immigrants from Ukraine.

According to a recent Al Jazeera report, about five million people could leave Ukraine in the worst case scenario.

The authorities in Ukraine announced that ten European airlines have canceled or suspended flights to this country.

In addition, several European countries such as Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France have advised their citizens not to travel to Ukraine due to the current situation the latter is facing.

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