Russia responds to Baltic countries blocking airspace
The Russian authorities are closing their airspace to Baltic airline companies in response to Baltic states blocking Russian aircraft from their airspace.
On Sunday, the Russian authorities announced the closure of their airspace to airline companies associated or registered in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Slovenia, in response to similar measures taken by those countries to punish Moscow after the start of its military operation in Ukraine.
According to the Russian Civil Aviation Agency, the ban will also apply to any transit flights operated by Baltic airlines through Russian airspace.
Yesterday, Russia restricted flights of the Bulgarian, Polish, and Czech airlines in its airspace after they blocked their airspace to flights by Russian carriers.
According to a spokesman for the German Ministry of Transport, Germany intends to follow suit and close its airspace to Russian aircraft.
Lufthansa, the official German carrier, announced a suspension of its flights to and through Russia for the next week, stressing that flights within Russian airspace will soon leave.
Finland follows suit
Joining the European countries, Finland's Transport Minister Timo Harakka tweeted that Finland is "preparing to close its airspace to Russian air traffic," without mentioning when exactly the measure will be implemented.
Finland is also planning to send a shipment of bullet-proof jackets, helmets, and a mobile hospital to Ukraine.
In addition, Helsinki has approved the supply of around 40 artillery weapons to Ukraine.
On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg invited Sweden and Finland to attend a NATO virtual summit on the situation in and around Ukraine on Friday.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, on the same day, said Finland would be ready to join NATO "if the issue of national security becomes acute."
According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Friday, if Sweden and Finland become members, Russia will have to respond.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said, on Friday, that the Russian army is successfully carrying out its military mission, preserving security and safeguarding the country.
Putin has made an appeal to Ukraine's troops, urging them to seize control and not allow "neo-Nazis and Banderovites" to exploit children, women, and the elderly as human shields.