The U.S. Plans to Prohibit Russian Flights from American Airspace

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The United States is joining several other nations in closing their airspace to Russian aviation.

“Tonight I’m announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,” the President said in his State of the Union address.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the ban “will mean any plane owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of a person who is a citizen of Russia will be prohibited from flying over the U.S.” The prohibition applies to scheduled and charter passenger and cargo flights.

The ban is expected to wreak havoc on global aviation.

The U.S. move, earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, follows prohibitions by European and Canadian authorities. The restrictions, which Russia has retaliated against by issuing a similar ban on European and Canadian flights, have choked off Russia’s access to large swaths of the world as its invasion of Ukraine escalates.

Reciprocal flight bans have upended global aviation networks, forcing airlines to scrap flights and take more circuitous routes in some

While there are few passenger carriers that would be affected, about one-quarter of global freight traffic moves to and from Asia and North America.

U.S. passenger carriers don’t operate nonstop flights to Russia, but its airspace is part of a corridor for many long-haul flights to Asia, including air-cargo services. United Airlines Holdings Inc., which typically flies over Russia en route to India, said Tuesday that it would stop flying through Russian airspace. Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. have also stopped flying through Russian airspace.

Cargo flights to and from Asia from North America account for one-quarter of global freight traffic, according to the International Air Transport Association. Airline executives said the majority heading to East Asia currently traveled through Russian airspace.

How much pain is Vladimir Putin willing to endure in order to achieve his goals in Ukraine? At this point, you have to suspect that Putin’s motives have become personal. Ukraine has defied him and must be punished and President Zelensky destroyed. Otherwise, tanking his own economy doesn’t make any sense geopolitically. Ukraine was in no danger of immediately joining NATO; it posed no threat to Russia. And yet Putin didn’t like the independent streak exhibited by Ukraine in its relations with Russia and the West.

There’s nothing for it now, Putin is going all in. And the blood of many innocent civilians will be on his hands.