Crimean airspace belongs to Ukraine, aviation group says


A Boeing 737 heading to Simferopol, takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, June 10. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

Russia might have invaded Crimea but the International Civil Aviation Organization has deemed that Crimean airspace still belongs to Ukraine.

Makysm Burbak, Ukraine’s infrastructure Minister, made the announcement in Kiev on Monday.

“Today we received a letter from the ICAO, which denies all of the statements in the Russian mass media that any negotiations between ICAO and Russia on the Crimean airspace are being held. The ICAO again confirmed that Crimea is the territory of Ukraine,” Burbak said.

In early April the European Aviation Safety Agency issued a bulletin after the Russian government and subsequently Moscow’s air traffic control system took control of the region’s flights.

Russian troops seized the Crimean peninsula in late February and on March 18th Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the territory a part of Russia.

The seizure of Crimea has not gone uncontested by the Ukrainian government and on June 26th newly elected President Petro Poroshenko told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that Ukraine’s government would continue to be at odds with Russia over control of Crimea.

“Our relations cannot be normalized [with Russia] without the return of Crimea,” Poroshenko said.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a staff writer and a former Marine infantryman.

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