Russia 'to Close Down Airspace' if West Imposes New Sanctions - PM

World | September 8, 2014, Monday // 08:07|  views

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced Moscow could restrict the movement of foreign flights in its airspace if new sector sanctions are introduced against the country.

"If there are sanctions related to energy [or] further restrictions to our financial sector, we have to respond asymmetrically," Russian agency ITAR-TASS quoted Medvedev as saying.

"For instance, in the transport sphere," he added, elaborating a ban on flights over Russia could lead many Western carriers to bankruptcy. 

Medvedev's announcement came as Brussels is poised to announce whether it has approved a new round of measures targeting Russia, a move Europe believes is necessary due to the long-standing escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

EU Council President Herman van Rompuy nevertheless made clear the bloc might refrain from adopting a new package if the Donbass ceasefire is observed.

In Rompuy's words such a decision is tied to "permanent" truce and to the start of new negotiations seeking solutions of the conflict, since the current ceasefire is just a single step.

Both the Kiev forces and pro-Russian rebels ended fire on Friday, following an agreement between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and representatives of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk "People's Republics", with the two sides subsequently upholding to the ceasefire for two days.

Reports of shelling in Mariupol on Saturday, resulting in the death of a woman, and exchange of fire near the Donetsk airport on Monday have marred the truce, but it is not yet known which side was responsible.

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Tags: Dmitry Medvedev, Russia, Ukraine, Herman van Rompuy, Donbass, Petro Poroshenko, Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, Mariupol, Donetsk, ceasefire


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