Ukraine closes sky for direct chartered flights to Russia
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has imposed a ban on chartered flights between Ukraine and Russia, with the exception of those required by missions of the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the Organization for Security Cooperation of Europe.
"We've analyzed [head of the Opposition Bloc, presidential candidate Yuriy] Boyko's flight to the aggressor state. He took advantage of a loophole in our legislation, got the green light from Russia's FSB, and flew from Kyiv to Moscow for talks with the aggressor state's prime minister. Therefore, we propose a resolution to amend regulations on the use of the Ukrainian airspace," Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said at a government meeting on April 3, as reported by an UNIAN correspondent.
The resolution was submitted for consideration to protect state security by eliminating loopholes for irregular air services between Ukraine and Russia.
"The draft resolution proposes a ban on chartered flights between Ukraine and the aggressor state, with the exception of flights that are necessary for the missions of the United Nations, the Red Cross and the Organization for Security of European Cooperation," he said.
The minister added that Yuriy Boyko flew to Moscow without breaking the legislation.
"Earlier, the National Security and Defense Council [NSDC] decided to impose restrictive measures on a number of Russian airlines. At the same time, the ban did not apply to irregular flights between Ukraine and Russia, which are carried out by aircraft not registered in Russia," Avakov said.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman urged to support the resolution and condemned Boyko's visit to Moscow where he traveled along with Chairman of the political Council of "Opposition Platform - For Life" Party Viktor Medvedchuk, known for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We support the draft resolution. Such restrictions will be in place until Russia becomes a civilized state," he said.
"No one has the right to humiliate the country [Ukraine]. Even when it comes to politicians who may have a different ideology. This is our country, our home. We have been attacked. Unfortunately, our neighbors turned out to be our enemies. Moreover, over 13,000 Ukrainians died, while more than 30,000 were wounded. And it's unfair to humiliate the country for the sake of 13% of one's rating," the prime minister said.
"This is my position. We may impose any restrictions, but it is difficult to impose restrictions on having no shame," he added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with Boyko and Medvedchuk in Medvedev's residence outside Moscow on March 22.
The politicians reportedly discussed issues of cooperation in the gas sector. Boyko said he was ready to offer the Russian Federation options for extending the transit gas contract, since the current government of Ukraine "is not proactive" in resolving the issue.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned the visit of Boyko and Medvedchuk to Moscow. On March 27, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine instructed to clarify the situation regarding the violation of border crossing by Boyko and Medvedchuk.