Slovakia closes its airspace to Russian planes

The country has not decided on expelling Russian diplomats.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

Slovakia closed its airspace to all planes from the Russian Federation on Monday.

“Following the Council Decision, the landing in, taking off from, or overflying though Slovakia’s airspace are banned for all aircraft owned, leased, operated or otherwise controlled by Russian citizens, and all holders of the air operator’s certificate issued by the Russian Federation’s authorities,” Transport Minister Andrej Doležal (Sme Rodina) wrote on Facebook.

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The ban does not concern humanitarian flights, rescue flights and one-way flights of leased aircraft returning to Slovakia and holding permission from respective Slovak bodies. Also planes requiring emergency landing in Slovakia are an exempted.

In response, Russia has banned aircraft coming from 36 countries, including Slovakia, from entering its airspace.

No decision on Russian diplomats

Meanwhile, the country has not decided on whether it will expel Russian diplomats.

Slovak government offers Bratislava for peace talks Read more 

“Now it's mostly about strong signals,” PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said during a talk show broadcast by the private Radio Expres, as quoted by the SITA newswire, referring to the decision to cancel Russia's access to the SWIFT system and the closure of airspace.

He assumes Russian President Vladimir Putin is surprised by how united Europe has become to help Ukraine.

He reiterated his support for Ukraine joining the EU, but stressed that there has to be “a new type of pathway toward EU membership” created for the country. He stated so also in a recent interview with Politico.

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“Ukraine is devastated by war,” Heger explained, as quoted by SITA. “After the war is over, it will be necessary to restore the country, so we have to prepare a new way for it to become the EU member. We can’t look at whether Kyiv met some economic criteria.”

President Zuzana Čaputová has supported Ukraine’s EU membership as well, stressing that “Ukraine is Europe” and that “it should be in the EU.”

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