KIEV Aug 14 Ukraine demanded that Russian
airlines Aeroflot and Transaero obtain
permission for every flight they make over its territory,
because these airlines fly over Crimean airspace which Ukraine
considers to be closed.
Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March, in a move
denounced as illegal by Kiev and precipitating the worst
standoff in East-West relations since the Cold War.
Ukraine's State Aviation Administration (SAA) said that
requiring the two Russian airlines, which use Crimean airspace,
to obtain flight transit permits would improve aviation safety.
"These measures will help ensure an adequate level of air
safety by streamlining the transit procedure over Ukraine by the
airlines, which disregard aviation rules in the closed airspace
over (Crimea)," it said in a statement.
The airlines cross Ukrainian territory when flying to
Bulgaria, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Greece.
Ukraine's SAA did not say whether flights by Aeroflot and
Transaero to Ukrainian cities would be affected.
Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said
sanctions against Russia, which were backed by parliament on
Thursday, could allow Ukraine to impose a "partial or full ban
on the transit" of resources from Russia and on air flights and
road traffic via Ukrainian territory.
On the Russian side, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said
last week that Moscow had decided to ban transit flights for
Ukrainian airlines and that it was considering banning European
and U.S. airlines as well in retaliation for sanctions.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice;
editing by Jane Baird)