UPDATE: 10:22 a.m. EDT-- Ukraine said Friday it would enforce the ban on Russian airlines beginning Oct. 25. The ban comes as part of additional sanctions over Russia's support of so-called separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In a move contrary to friendly skies, Ukraine decided Friday to ban Russian airlines from flying into the country and prohibited any Russian transit flights above Ukraine if the planes contain Russian military members or goods, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Areseny Yatseniuk announced Friday through the government’s press service. The ban would affect major Russian airlines including Aeroflot and Transaero.
"Russian planes with the Russian tricolor have no business in Ukrainian airports," said Yatseniuk in the statement. No date was given regarding when the ban would begin.
As part of the ban, Ukraine would also stop using Russian software from the Kaspersky Lab group. In the statement, Yatseniuk said that any companies against which sanctions have been lobbied should not be used as part of any government procurement. He also said the government had taken the first steps for additional personal sanctions against Russian companies and could add more as needed.
The ban comes over a year after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people on board. Ukrainian officials blamed Russian backed separatists for shooting down the plane while Russian media put forth several theories, including that the plane was full of dead bodies when it took off from Amsterdam. In July, Russia vetoed the establishment of a U.N. international criminal tribunal to investigate the crash.
“The veto only compounds the atrocity,” said Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop at the time. “Only one hand was raised in opposition, but a veto should never be allowed to deny justice.”
Bishop said earlier this week that member states who had been greatly impacted by the downing of MH17 were considering forming their own tribunal that would not require approval from the U.N. as a whole.
Both Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin were scheduled to speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. A Ukrainian official told local media earlier in the week that no meeting was scheduled between the two leaders. Putin was expected to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Aeroflot tweeted Friday that it had not yet heard directly from the Ukrainian government about the ban.
— Аэрофлот (@aeroflot) September 25, 2015