KYIV (Reuters) – Germany’s Lufthansa has postponed at least two flights to Ukraine this week, in one of the first changes to air traffic since tensions between Russia and the West last escalated.
A Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Kyiv on Sunday afternoon was moved to Monday morning, with Lufthansa service center staff saying it was because the crew could no longer stay in Kyiv overnight due to current ‘problems’ said a Reuters reporter who witnessed the announcement.
Tensions escalated after Russia massed around 100,000 troops within range of the Ukrainian border, although Moscow denies any intention to invade. [L8N2U41TF]
Several countries have issued warnings about the risk of flying near Ukraine’s eastern border region, about 450-550 miles southeast of Kiev, since Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in 2014, killing the 298 people on board.
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The US Federal Aviation Administration recently renewed a ban on US airlines flying over parts of eastern Ukraine.
Canada warned last week of “increased military activity” and the “threat posed by miscalculations and miscommunications”.
Lufthansa’s Frankfurt-Kiev flight scheduled for Monday afternoon has been moved to Tuesday morning, Frankfurt Airport’s online departures board showed, while no such flight was scheduled for Wednesday.
“We have adjusted our flight schedule to Ukraine only for operational reasons,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said on Monday, while another confirmed there would be no stopover in Kyiv for the moment.
Both did not comment further on the situation.
The Frankfurt Airport website showed that a Lufthansa flight on Monday at 10.10 p.m. to the Ukrainian city of Lviv, located about 540 km west of Kiev, was due to take place. Lufthansa serves Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa in Ukraine.
Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea to Ukraine in 2014 and sided with rebels fighting government troops in the eastern region of Donbass, where the Ukrainian government says some 14,000 people have been killed. killed.
The European Union threatened Moscow with sanctions if it invaded Ukraine again, the United States supplied Kiev with more weapons and NATO said it was putting forces on hold.
Russia has denounced these measures as an escalation of tensions. He demanded that Washington guarantee that Ukraine will never join the Western military alliance.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Additional reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Tim Hepher and Alexander Smith)
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