Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic have decided to close their airspace to Russian planes, joining other European countries that have taken the step since Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
“Estonia joins Poland’s initiative and will ban all Russian airlines from using our airspace,” Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Minister Taavi Aas was quoted as saying in a report by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.
He urged all Baltic states “to do the same to cut Russia off from European airspace.”
“Europe must be united and resolute in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he added.
Lithuania’s Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said the country has “made the decision in principle” and “in coordination with Latvia and Estonia,” according to public broadcaster LRT.
Latvia’s Transport Ministry said it is planning to close the country’s “airspace to airlines registered in Russia for commercial flights,” read a report by the LETA news agency.
The Czech Republic announced that it will bar Russian airlines from its airspace starting Sunday.
“From midnight, we are closing the airspace over the Czech Republic to aircraft of Russian carriers,” Transport Minister Martin Kupka wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
The move comes a day after Prague stopped operations of all Russian airlines at Czech airports.
Apart from Poland, the UK, Bulgaria and Moldova have also closed their airspace to Russian planes.
Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine entered its third day Saturday, with local media reporting clashes between Russian and Ukrainian troops in the capital Kyiv throughout the night.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military intervention Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine. He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy its western neighbor, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to install a puppet government and said Ukrainians will defend their country against Russian aggression.