Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

Germany on Sunday said it would close its airspace to Russian planes, joining other European countries in ramping up sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday
The Russian presidential plane Iljuschin Il-96. Spain has moved to close its airspace off to Russian aircraft. (Photo by PIERRE ALBOUY / AFP)

Germany will impose a three-month ban on all Russian flights from its airspace from 3pm Germany time on Sunday, the Transport Ministry said.

The authorities are tightening the screws on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“In a Notice to Air Missions, the transport ministry has imposed a flight ban for Russian aircraft and aircraft operators in and over German airspace,” said the ministry, adding that order was valid for three months.

Only humanitarian flights will be exempt.

EXPLAINED: How the Ukraine crisis could impact Germany

Germany joins other European countries in ramping up sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Already a number of other countries – such as Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Poland – have closed their airspace to Russian flights, forcing westbound Russian planes to make enormous diversions.

EU leaders will meet again later today to discuss the latest package of sanctions against Russia.

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‘Totally unprecedented’: Ukraine flag sales soar at German factory

Far from the war in Ukraine, Eric Borney never dreamed his factory in the calm German countryside would smash sales records making Ukrainian flags.

'Totally unprecedented': Ukraine flag sales soar at German factory

“Usually we make four or five Ukrainian flags each year. But we’ve made 1,000 flags in 10 days,” he said, as steam rises from a roll of blue and yellow fabric dyed for Ukraine’s national banner.

“And it’s going up every day,” he added from his factory in Normandy in northwestern France.

At the entrance to the manufacturing site, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag floats between France’s tricolour and the company’s flag.

For factory seamstress Marie-Christine Sebert, making a Ukrainian flag is “something important”.

“We are showing (the Ukrainian people) that we are there for them, despite everything, even if we are not fighting side by side,” she told AFP.

Other manufacturers across the world have reported a rise in demand for the Ukrainian yellow and blue flag since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

French company Doublet’s subsidiaries in Spain and Germany “are receiving similar requests,” according to the parent company.

Borney’s family business saw previous sales peaks for major national events, including the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and France’s top performance in the 2018 World Cup.

But nothing of this magnitude for another country’s flag, which he said is “totally unprecedented”.

“We did not expect this at all. France is not a border country. It’s 2,000 kilometres away,” he said.

“But people are more affected than if it’s a war in Africa or a bit farther away.”

With the spike in demand, the small business shot into action, delivering flags in under four days.

Borney didn’t say how much he’s earned from the surge in orders, only that it’s “not negligible” — particularly after losses due to the pandemic and a surge in prices for raw materials.