Mexico Will Not Close its Airspace to Russia, UkraineBy Sofía Hanna | Mon, 02/28/2022 - 17:14
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU closed its airspace to Russian planes. In retaliation, Russia closed its airspace to 36 countries. Despite criticizing the invasion, Mexico's president said the country will not close its airspace. The county’s government is now focusing on repatriating Mexican citizens evacuated from Ukraine using Mexican Air Force (FAM) aircraft.
Many airlines and countries are preparing for the repercussions that will come from airspace closures in Russia, the EU and Ukraine, according to Reuters. On Monday, Russia banned aircraft from 36 countries, including all 27 members of the EU. The measure was taken after the EU ministers agreed to refuse entry to Russian airplanes, including the private jets.
Without the ability to access Russia's airspace, many carriers will have to divert flights south while also avoiding areas of tension in the Middle East. Also, flight cancellations sparked costly detours. Before the political conflict, over 400 planes operated by over 35 airlines traveled through Ukraine’s airspace daily on average. Now all of them are being diverted for safety reasons, reports the Economist.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that humanitarian flights are excluded from this ban. Since these are not prohibited, the Mexican Embassies in Ukraine and Romania coordinated the first evacuation mission to bring Mexicans stranded in the conflict area back to Mexico, which took place on Sunday, Feb. 27 using a Boeing 737. The flight took off at about 10:00 a.m. for Romania, via Canada and Ireland, reported Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard. He added that more repatriation flights would take place if necessary.
“At the embassy, we will continue exhausting all possible instances to repatriate them. We continue to attend to the cases with the means at our disposal, since, as you know, we have been prohibited from entering the embassy offices for security,” said the Mexican Embassy in Ukraine, reports A21.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked today in his morning conference whether Mexico would close its airspace to Russian flights, to which he answered that it will not be closed.