Germany refuses Russian airlines to use airspace amid tensions over Belarus
Amid tensions over Belarus, Germany said it blocked Russian airlines’ permission to use its airspace after Moscow did not approve a Lufthansa flight to Russia. According to The Independent, the German Transport Ministry said the decision was based on the practice of reciprocal approval of affected flights and connections operated by Aeroflot and low cost carrier S7. The ministry informed that Russia had “unilaterally” suspended bilateral air traffic agreements between the two countries in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and that flights have since been approved reciprocally on a monthly basis.
However, the German Transport Ministry added that for Lufthansa flights, the timely approval had not been received from the Russian licensing authority FATA for the month of June. Thus, the Lufthansa flights which were to take place at the beginning of June 2 had to be canceled on the evening of June 1.
He said that due to the underlying “reciprocal practice”, the German Federal Aviation Authority also did not issue any further permits for the flights of Russian carriers while the permits were pending. on the Russian side. The ministry even said that the German Embassy in Moscow is in close exchange with the Russian aviation authorities and as soon as FATA approvals for Lufthansa flights have been granted by the Russian side, the flights of Russian companies will also be approved. .
Tensions between the EU and Russia over Belarus
The tit-for-tat decision comes amid growing tension between Russia and the European Union over Moscow’s support for Belarus. The EU and the US have already introduced new sanctions against Belarus after authorities hijacked an international flight there to arrest a dissident journalist. Following the incident, the EU even blocked most flights to and over Belarus.
Russia, meanwhile, has defended Belarus’ use of a military plane to hijack the passenger plane carrying the dissident. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the country had treated the incident with an “absolutely reasonable approach”. Lavrov said Minsk was ready to act on the matter transparently and follow all international rules. Calling on Western states to do the same, Russian lawmakers have called on the world community to “soberly assess the situation.”