Govt toughens ban on Russian aircraft to 'inflict more economic pain' on Putin

9 March 2022, 06:01 | Updated: 9 March 2022, 06:13

Liz Truss has announced a strengthening of the ban on Russian aircraft
Liz Truss has announced a strengthening of the ban on Russian aircraft. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Government has toughened its sanctions on Russian aircraft, making it a criminal offence to fly them in UK airspace.

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The new powers, announced on Wednesday, mean Russian aircraft can be detained if they enter UK airspace, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

"Banning Russian flagged planes from the UK and making it a criminal offence to fly them will inflict more economic pain on Russia and those close to the Kremlin," said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

"We will continue to support Ukraine diplomatically, economically and defensively in the face of Putin’s illegal invasion, and work to isolate Russia on the international stage."

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The ban includes any aircraft owned, operated or chartered by anyone connected with Russia, or designated individuals or entities, and will include the power to detain any aircraft owned by people connected with Russia.

The new powers will also allow the Government to remove aircraft belonging to designated Russian individuals and entities from the UK aircraft register.

The FCDO also says it has introduced additional trade measures to prevent UK exports of aviation or space-related items and technology to Russia, including related services such as insurance and reinsurance services.

This will also mean cover is withdrawn on existing policies, and UK insurers and reinsurers will be unable to pay claims in respect of existing policies in these sectors.

The Government says the measures will further tighten the economic pressure on Russia and ensure the UK is in line with sanctions imposed by its allies.

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"Putin must fail," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

"We were one of the first countries to ban Russian aircraft and today we are going even further by making it a criminal offence for Russian aircraft to operate in UK airspace.

"We will always work to deny Putin and his cronies the right to continue as normal while innocent Ukrainians suffer."

The UK has imposed a growing list of sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business and Energy Secretary, announced the UK would phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.

"This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports - which make up 8% of UK demand," he said on Twitter.

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Joe Biden announced a similar plan for the US to sanction all oil, oil products, and gas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the moves, saying they sent "a powerful signal to the whole world".

He added: "Either Russia will respect international law and not wage wars, or it will have no money."