Ukraine espace aérien Kiev airport (Photo: kbp.aero/en/airport-and-terminals/)

They are now called Donetsk Independent People’s Republic and Luhansk Independent People’s Republic. The declaration of independence of these two republics was recognized by the government of Vladimir Putin. An act that opened the way for a peace “occupation” of Russian troops. The situation is causing panic in European chancelleries and, as a result, airlines.

The Lufthansa group announced last weekend to suspend its routes to Kiev

and Odessa. The measure came into effect this Monday. And it also affects the flights of Austrian Airlines and Swiss International. However, the group continues to offer flights to Lvov. The city in western Ukraine is close to the Polish border. And it is far from any conflict zone.

Lufthansa’s withdrawal follows KLM, which had already decided to stop its flights at the beginning of last week. SAS Scandinavian Airlines has announced the suspension of its only weekly flight between Kiev and Oslo until February 27.

Air France is judging the situation on a day

-to-day basis

Air France

has adopted a cautious approach on a day-to-day basis.

The airline is suspending its planned flight to Kiev on Tuesday. The carrier currently offers only two weekly flights to the Ukrainian capital. A decision will be made quickly for the flight next Saturday.

Ukraine for its part has officially announced that ten companies have stopped serving Ukraine. However, the country insists that flying to the country remains safe. In a briefing to the media on Monday, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksander Kubrakov explained that ” the cancellation of flights by a number of airlines is dictated by the worsening political situation, more than by real changes in the safety of flights

. The Minister assured that the country would not remain isolated by air and that the cancelled routes would be replaced. Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has already increased its capacity from Kiev to Geneva and Munich and is expected to set up more routes. On the site of Kiev airport, British Airways, LOT, Turkish Airlines and the low cost airline Ryanair continued their operations on Tuesday 22 February.

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Many airlines have decided to avoid flying over the Ukrainian territory. In 2014, the rebels of Donbass had indeed shot down “by mistake” a plane of Malaysia Airlines.

Luc Citrinot