Luxembourg to close airspace for Russia planes
By Andréa Oldreide and Douwe Miedema
Luxembourg will close its air space for planes from Russia, Defence Minister François Bausch said on Sunday, following other EU countries cutting ties with Moscow after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The measure would come into force on Sunday, the government said. The European Commission later said that all Russian aircraft would be prohibited from using the airspace of the European Union.
"Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane – and that includes the private jets of oligarchs," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a press release on Sunday.
Moreover, Europe would ban Russian media including Russia Today and Sputnik, seen as propaganda tools, she also said. The EU was "developing tools" to make this possible, von der Leyen said in the release.
Finally, Europe would finance and acquire weapons for Ukraine, von der Leyen said, a first in the history of the 27-nation bloc. More details about how the plan would work would come out later on Sunday, she said.
The ban comes after Luxembourg said on Friday it would block all military exports to Russia and Belarus. Last year, the Grand Duchy allowed military items to be exported outside the EU on 85 different occasions.
Western nations have been ramping up sanctions against the Kremlin ever since President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours on Thursday. On Saturday, the US, UK, Canada, and the European Commission said they would block the Russian central bank from using foreign currency reserves to prevent it from escaping international sanctions.
The nations said they would eject some Russian banks from Swift - a financial messaging system that is crucial for making international payments - harming their ability to operate. They also vowed to crack down on wealthy Russians buying citizenship, and to target Russian officials and elites.