Brussels, February 27
Belgium is joining a growing list of countries closing their airspace to Russian airlines as the West ramps up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering an invasion of Ukraine.
Belgian Prime Minster Alexander De Croo tweeted on Sunday that the country “has decided to close its airspace to all Russian airlines.” “Our European skies are open skies. They’re open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress,” he tweeted.
Most European countries have either announced they are closing their airspace or said they intend to do so.
Russia said on Saturday it was closing its airspace to planes from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia after they banned Russian planes from their skies. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, among several other countries, also have a ban in place.
Canada has also said it is closing its airspace to all Russian aircraft. — AP
IAEA calls for restraint
Vienna: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could threaten the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine amid an intensified Russian military offensive in its capital Kyiv and other areas. Ukraine has four nuclear power sites with 15 reactors, providing roughly half of the country’s electricity. PTI
Gas pipeline blown up
Kyiv: The Ukrainian President’s office said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. The State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection warned that the explosion, which it said looked like a mushroom cloud, could cause an “environmental catastrophe” and advised residents to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze and to drink plenty of fluids. AP