Russia-Ukraine direct flights to be halted

The ongoing dispute between Ukraine and Russia has taken a new turn, with Ukraine announcing direct flights to Russia will end.

Roughly 70,000 passengers a month take these flights

A Transaero aircraft is parked at Moscow's Vnukovo airport. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

All direct flights between Ukraine and Russia will be cancelled at midnight local time. The move announced last month by Kyiv is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat sanctions to be imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

Financially it will be costly, especially to Russia's airliners. Some 70,000 passengers a month take these flights.

The sanction is in retaliation for Russia's support of separatists in eastern Ukraine and Moscow's annexation of Crimea last year.

"Starting tomorrow, the only alternative will be to take an expensive flight via a third country," journalist Dominic Valitis told CBC News. "Failing that, it would be a 13-hour train journey."

The two countries were holding talks in Brussels to secure an agreement to avoid the flight ban.

However, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Andriy Pyvovarsky said on Friday those talks had failed and that the flight ban would go ahead.


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