Transport Canada launching review after it says Russian flight used banned Canadian airspace

Transport Canada announced it’s launching a review after it alleged a Russian aircraft violated the prohibition put in place earlier Sunday on Russian flights using Canadian airspace.

It said it will be reviewing the conduct of Aeroflot 111 and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN.

“We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations,” Transport Canada added.

Canada announced earlier Sunday it closed its airspace to all Russian aircraft.

“All of Canada is united in its outrage of President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement.

“In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft. The government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine.”

While Aeroflot does not operate any flights directly to Canada, it does have several flights per day through Canadian airspace en route to the U.S. and other destinations.

Canada is only the latest country to ban Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot and other airlines.

The European Union’s chief executive said Sunday the 27-nation bloc will also close its airspace to Russian airlines.

“We are proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft,” said President Ursula von der Leyen. “These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU.”

Separately, Air France announced that it was suspending flights to and from Russia for safety reasons “until further notice.”

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called on Western nations to isolate Russia both economically and politically after its invasion on Ukraine, saying “there is no place for planes of the aggressor state in democratic skies.”

Russia has retaliated by banning commercial flights from a number of European countries. It’s uncertain if they will issue a ban on Canadian flights into Russia.

“Canada will continue to do everything it can against the Russian regime’s aggression<” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly. “We are united with our allies in our unwavering support to Ukraine and are working to bring this unprovoked war to an end.”

The move also comes on the heels of Canada joining the U.S. and European Union disconnecting some Russian banks from SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.

The central bank restrictions target the more than $600 billion in reserves that the Kremlin has at its disposal, meant to limit Russia’s ability to support the ruble amid tightening Western sanctions. They also will severely constrain Russia’s ability to import and export goods.

Files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press were used in this report

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