December 6, 2022

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Biden says US to ban Russian flights from US airspace

Biden says US to ban Russian flights from US airspace

United Airlines planes park at their gates at O’Hare International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago, Illinois, US, November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Tuesday announced a ban on Russian flights from U.S. airspace, following similar moves by the European Union and Canada following Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“I announce that we will join our allies in closing US airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional pressure to their economy,” Biden said in his State of the Union address.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration orders are effective by the end of Wednesday and will suspend operations of all aircraft owned, approved, operated, registered, leased, leased or controlled for, or for the benefit of, a Russian citizen.

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This includes passenger and cargo flights, as well as chartered and scheduled flights, “effectively closing US airspace to all Russian air carriers and other Russian civilian aircraft,” the Transportation Department said.

Late Tuesday, United Airlines said it had temporarily suspended its flights over Russian airspace, joining other major US airlines that took the step after the influx of Russian troops into Ukraine last week.

And United continued to fly over Russian airspace to operate some flights to and from India in recent days. Delta Airlines (DAL.N)American Airlines and United Parcel Service (UPS.N) Everyone confirmed this week that they had halted flights over Russia.

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FedEx on Tuesday did not respond to emails asking if it had stopped flying over Russia.

United has canceled two flights to India for Tuesday and Wednesday because it is assessing how it can continue to operate via a different route that does not use Russian airspace.

Sources told Reuters that White House officials privately asked whether the move would harm US supply chains or have other negative effects.

Russian flights have been effectively banned from mostly US destinations in recent days due to the ban on the use of Canadian and European airspace. Some foreign governments privately have questioned why the United States has not moved as quickly to ban Russian planes as some American lawmakers have.

Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that Ukraine had committed “genocide” in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, without providing evidence, and said the invasion, which Russian officials called a “special operation”, was justified to end it.

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David Shepardson News. Editing by Leslie Adler, Grant McCall and Lincoln Fest.

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.