Many European countries and Canada join in closing their airspace to Russian planes

Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airbus A320 civil jet aircraft at Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Leonid Faerberg | Light Rocket | Getty Images

A growing number of countries announced on Sunday they’re joining a string of nations in closing their airspace to Russian aircraft after Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would shut down its airspace for planes owned, registered or controlled by Russians, “including the private jets of oligarchs.”

Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, said his nation was closing its airspace to all Russian planes to hold the country accountable for an unprovoked attack on its neighbor. The European Union action came after many of its member countries had said they were barring Russian planes or planned to do so by Sunday night.

Additionally, officials for Sweden, DenmarkBelgiumFranceSpain, the NetherlandsItaly, Austria and Iceland all separately announced the measures that would further isolate Russia. It follows similar restrictions from the UK, Poland, Romania, FinlandCzech Republic, Bulgaria, Germany, LatviaLithuania and Estonia.

The moves by the nations put even more pressure on Russia, with countries banding together to impose wide-reaching sanctions on Russia and its elite. A ban means Russian aircraft can’t fly over or land in the nations that impose the rules, which often means lengthy and costly reroutes.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter his government is pushing for a European Union-wide ban of Russian flights at a meeting of the bloc’s ministers of foreign affairs. An EU official told Reuters that could be a part of fresh sanctions.

“We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” Canada’s minister of transport Omar Alghabra said in a tweet.

Some airlines and delivery services had already been rerouting planes around the potential conflict zone in the days before Russia began its attack. United Parcel Service said Sunday it would temporarily suspend packages going into Russia. FedEx has also paused inbound service to Russia. The company will still provide domestic and export service in Russia where conditions allow, a spokesperson said in an email.

Hungary-based Wizz Air said Sunday it would suspend all flights temporarily to and from Russia.

In response to the nations banding together, Russia has said it would ban flights from several nations that introduced their own measures. Russian airline Aeroflot said on Sunday it would cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice. Russia’s S7 airline is also suspending many of its flights to European countries until mid-March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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