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Flights disrupted as Europe closes skies to Russian planes

An internet flight tracking site on Sunday (February 29) showed the disruption to flights as Europe took moves to ban Russian planes from their skies.

Flightradar24.com, a website that tracks flight paths, showed a picture of widespread diversions.

The unprecedented step is aimed at pressuring President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Germany and France joined Britain, the Nordic and Baltic states in announcing bans on Russian use of their airspace, a major escalation in a tactic by mostly NATO allies to wage economic war against Putin in retaliation for the invasion.

Without access to Russia’s airways, experts say carriers face diverting flights south while also avoiding areas of tension in the Middle East – adding significant time and cost.

Germany’s transport ministry said it would close airspace to Russian planes and airlines for three months from Sunday, with the exception of humanitarian aid flights.

Nordic countries Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland also made similar announcements, following on from closures already declared by Britain, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania. Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also closing their airspace to Russian airliners.

(Production Jacqueline Clyne)

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