Canada is closing its airspace to Russian aircraft operators effective immediately, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Sunday.
Alghabra announced the move on Twitter Sunday morning as part of Canada’s latest response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this week.
“We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” reads the tweet from Alghabra.
The decision aligns Canadian policy with many European nations that announced similar decisions over the past several days.
Effective immediately, Canada’s airspace is closed to all Russian aircraft operators. We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine.
— Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) February 27, 2022
Russian-owned aircraft are banned from airspace above Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, the Baltic states and others. Those policies leave much of European airspace closed to Russian planes.
As late as Friday, this country’s airspace remained open to Russian carriers, but the Transport Department was considering options and working with allies, Alghabra told The Canadian Press.
Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot operates multiple flights per day through Canadian airspace en route to the U.S. and beyond.
The decision announced Sunday will add hours to some flights and make others “impossible,” said aerospace consultant Ross Aimer.
Russia has responded by banning commercial flights from the U.K., Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Canada also levied what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as “severe, coordinated sanctions” on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle.
On Saturday, North American and European countries, in a move backed by Canada, said they would cut some Russian banks off from the crucial SWIFT financial communications system.
This report was initially published by CBC News on Feb. 27, 2022.