Updated: All the countries affected by Ukraine travel bans and sanctions so far

Ukraine's national flag waves above Kyiv earlier this month.
Ukraine's national flag waves above Kyiv earlier this month.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
By Euronews Travel  with Agencies

Much of Europe has closed its airspace to Russian airlines and flights, following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen announced a raft of new sanctions on Sunday (27 February) including a ban on Russian flights using EU airspace.

Prior to the EU-wide move, European countries had been closing their skies to Russian aircraft on an individual basis - starting with the UK on Friday.

Russia has been responding with tit-for-tat restrictions to what its civil aviation authority has called “unfriendly” moves. So far, Russian airspace has been closed to carriers from 36 countries - including 27 EU nations. 

The country's air traffic finds itself facing a very large no-fly zone, forcing flights to the west in huge detours.

Other countries outside of Europe have also followed suit by banning Russian airlines from their airspace. On 27 February Canada banned Russian planes as part of severe sanctions. President Joe Biden also announced that from 3 March, the US will "join its allies" by prohibiting Russian aircraft from entering its airspace. 

Euronews Travel has contacted all the airlines that fly to Ukraine and surrounding countries. Their responses can be found in this article, which we are updating regularly.

See below for a breakdown of which countries have been affected by travel restrictions so far.

Which countries have restricted travel in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

Albania

Albania has closed its airspace for all Russian aircraft except for humanitarian and emergency flights.

Andorra

Andorra, as a landlocked country, is now inaccessible to Russian flights and airlines.

Austria

Austrian Airlines, the flag carrier of Austria, announced this weekend that it was cancelling its flights to Russia and avoiding Russian airspace for at least the next seven days.

Austrian Airlines took this decision "due to the evolution of the regulatory situation", explained the company in a press release.

Belarus

Many airlines have avoided flying over Belarus since the incident with Ryanair Flight 4978.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence closed the airspace in the south of the country, near the Ukrainian border.

Belgium

Belgium has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Bulgarian flights.

Canada

Canada banned Russian planes from entering its airspace from 28 February. 

In retaliation, Russia has banned Canadian flights. 

Cyprus

Cyprus's airspace is now closed to Russian airlines and flights as part of the EU-wide ban announced on Sunday 27 February.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Czech flights.

Denmark

On Sunday morning, Denmark also announced the closure of its skies to Russian planes, including private jets.

At Sunday's meeting of European Union foreign ministers, "we will push for an EU-wide shutdown," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine "must be countered by the strongest possible international sanctions", he called.

The closure of Finnish airspace also risks affecting the service to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located on the shores of the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania.

Estonia

Estonia has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called on other EU countries to do the same saying there is "no place for planes of the aggressor state in democratic skies."

In retaliation, Russia has banned Estonian flights.

European Union

Ursula von der Leyen announced the entire EU airspace would be shut to Russian flights, as part of a raft of new sanctions unveiled today.

"We are shutting down the EU airspace for Russians," the EU president said.

"We're proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian-registered, and Russian-controlled aircraft.

"These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off, or overfly the territory of the European Union."

She added that the restrictions will include private jets of Russian oligarchs.

France

France will be shutting its airspace to Russia from this evening (Sunday 27 September).

"France is shutting its airspace to all Russian aircraft and airlines from this evening on," said the French Minister in charge of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.

"To the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe responds with total unity."

Finland

Finland will close its airspace to Russian planes in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, the government announced today (Sunday 27 February).

The Nordic country shares a border of more than 1,300 kilometres with its Russian neighbour.

However, Finland "is preparing to close the airspace to Russian air traffic," Transport Minister Timo Harakka said in a tweet.

The date of entry into force of the measure has not yet been specified.

The Finnish national company, Finnair, specializes in Europe-Asia routes flying over Russia. But its traffic is currently very reduced due to Covid-19 and entry restrictions in Asia.

In response, Russia has banned Finnish flights.

Germany

Germany will close its airspace to Russian airlines and all private jets from 2 pm GMT on Sunday, the transport ministry announced, following the lead of many other European countries.

"The German Ministry of Transport has issued a flight ban for Russian aircraft and aircraft operators in German airspace," he said, specifying that this ban was valid for three months but did not concern possible humanitarian flights.

The German airline group Lufthansa (along with its subsidiaries Condor, Swiss, Brussel Airlines) has already decided on Saturday to suspend its flights to and over Russia for a week.

"Lufthansa will no longer use Russian airspace for the next seven days," a company spokesperson said on Saturday.

The company expects retaliatory measures against German planes.

Greece

Greece's airspace is now closed to Russian airlines and flights as part of the EU-wide ban announced on Sunday 27 February.

Hungary

Hungary's airspace is now closed to Russian airlines and flights as part of the EU-wide ban announced on Sunday 27 February.

Iceland

Iceland has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Ireland

Ireland has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Kosovo

Kosovo has joined sanctions against Russian individuals, including travel bans.

Latvia

Latvia has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Latvian flights.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein, as a landlocked country, is now inaccessible to Russian flights and airlines.

Lithuania

Lithuania has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Lithuanian flights.

Luxembourg

The government of Luxembourg, a major platform for cargo planes and the transport of freight in Europe, also indicated, in a press release, “preparing the necessary notifications to close” its airspace to Russian companies as of Sunday.

Malta

Malta's airspace is now closed to Russian airlines and flights as part of the EU-wide ban announced on Sunday 27 February.

Moldova

Moldova's airspace has been shut to all commercial airlines since Thursday.

The country shares half its border with Ukraine and declared a state of emergency soon after the Russian invasion.

The land border between Moldova and Ukraine has remained open, however.

“I ask Moldovan citizens who are visiting or staying in Ukraine to return home," said Moldovan President Maia Sandu.

"All border crossings are open and with additional staff. We will take care of these people."

Netherlands

The Netherlands has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Poland

Poland has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Polish flights.

Poland's land border with Ukraine has remained open. Restrictions over paperwork have been lifted too, to ease the flow of refugees.

Additionally, the Polish government has said people fleeing Ukraine can bring their pets without needing travel documents.

Portugal

The Portuguese government announced on Sunday that the airspace above the country would be shut to Russian airlines or flights.

Romania

Romania has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Romanian flights.

"Due to unfriendly moves by aviation authorities of Romania’s aviation authorities, it was decided to impose restrictions on air carriers of the Republic of Romania and/or registered in it to operate regular flights to destinations in the Russian Federation, including overflights of Russian airspace," Rosaviatsiya (Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport) said.

San Marino

San Marino, as a landlocked country, is now inaccessible to Russian flights and airlines.

Slovakia

Slovakia's airspace is now closed to Russian airlines and flights as part of the EU-wide ban announced on Sunday 27 February.

Slovenia

Slovenia has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

In retaliation, Russia has banned Slovenian flights.

Spain

Spain has banned Russian airlines from entering the country's airspace.

Switzerland

Switzerland, a famously neutral country throughout history, closed its airspace to Russia on Monday 28 February.

In an unprecedented move from the county, it chose to mirror the full range of EU sanctions.

UK

The UK has banned all Russian airlines from entering British airspace.

In response, Russia has banned all British airlines.

Ukraine

No commercial flights can enter Ukraine at the moment.

United States

The US will close its airspace to Russian aircraft, including private jets, from 3 March. The move prohibits planes owned or registered by Russians from flying over the country. 

Why do countries close their airspace during war?

"There is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft," the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in a conflict zone bulletin.

The agency said airspace within 100 nautical miles of Russia's borders with Ukraine could pose safety risks.

"The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a high risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels."

EU and NATO member Lithuania has declared a state of emergency in response to "possible disturbances and provocations due to large military forces massed in Russia and Belarus." In a joint move with Latvia, Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis has announced that the country is preparing to ban Russian airlines from its airspace.

The aviation industry has taken more notice of the risks posed by war since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, when Russia previously invaded the country.

FlightRadar data shows empty Ukrainian skies

AP/Flightradar24.com
Empty airspace over Ukraine shortly after Russian troops launched their attack in the early hours of this morning.AP/Flightradar24.com

Flight scanning websites and apps like FlightRadar24 recorded the sudden desertion of planes over Ukraine’s airspace.

Early morning airline traffic skirted the whole country in crowded corridors to the north and west.

An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto made a sudden U-turn out of Ukraine's airspace around the time of its closure, FlightRadar24 showed. While a LOT Polish Airlines flight from Warsaw to Kyiv turned back.

Russia said on Thursday it had suspended domestic flights to and from several airports near its border with Ukraine, including Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar and Stavropol, until 2 March.

It closed some airspace in the Rostov sector "in order to provide safety" for civil flights, according to a notice to aircrew.

Before Ukraine's announcement yesterday morning, Britain, Canada, France, Italy and the United States told their airlines to avoid certain airspace above eastern Ukraine and Crimea but stopped short of a total ban.

Aviation bosses cancel flights, saying safety is 'paramount'

A number of airlines decided earlier this week to halt flights to Ukraine, including KLM and Lufthansa - before the airspace was formally closed yesterday (24 February).

A statement from Ryanair says the airline has now suspended all flights to and from Ukraine for the next 14 days.

“All affected passengers will receive email notices later this morning and all flights to/from Ukraine have been removed from sale for at least the next 4 weeks until further information becomes available from EU safety agencies,” it added, with an apology to all Ukrainian customers.

Wizz Air has also suspended "all operations" in Ukraine, saying affected passengers can find more information on their website or via the airline’s call centre on 00380 893 202 532.

Wizz has said, however, that tickets for flights to and from Ukraine are only suspended until Sunday 27 February at 23.59. This is "on order for Wizz Air to continue to operate essential flights for passengers who need to travel, flights for later dates are still available."

A full list of affected airlines and their responses can be found in this article.

IATA director general Willie Walsh described the escalation of events in Ukraine as “deeply saddening.”

Safety is always the top priority for aviation, he told Euronews Travel. “IATA is helping to facilitate the relevant and timely sharing of information with airlines from government and non-government sources to support airlines as they plan their operations around airspace closures in the Ukraine and parts of Russia.”

On the airspace closures, director general of Airport Council International Europe Olivier Jankovec, says “Those airports in regions at the heart of the conflict are critically impacted as their operations, their personnel and their families deal with the immediacy of their changing environment.

“For every airport, the safety of passengers and personnel is paramount, and the swift, effective management of crisis situations is always to the fore when operations are disrupted.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues as they respond to this emergency.”

Could flights to other countries take longer?

Some UK airlines have warned that flights to other destinations could take longer following Russia's ban on British carriers in its airspace.

"On Thursday evening we took the decision to start avoiding Russian airspace and our flight paths will continue to be adjusted for some Virgin Atlantic passenger services between the UK, Pakistan and India," says a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times."

Four of Virgin Atlantic's routes typically pass over Russia - flights between London Heathrow and Islamabad, Lahore and Delhi as well as services between Manchester and Islamabad. The airline says that avoiding Russian airspace could add up to an hour to journey times dependent on the route.

Virgin Atlantic adds that it has not flown in Ukraine's airspace since 2014 and has been adjusting its flight plans since December to increase distances from the Ukraine-Russia border.