SHARE
COPY LINK

UKRAINE

Italy prepares to close airspace to Russian planes

Italy said on Sunday it would close its airspace to Russia flights, joining other European countries in ramping up sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Italy prepares to close airspace to Russian planes
The Russian presidential plane Iljuschin Il-96. More EU countries are moving to ban Russian aircraft from its airspace. (Photo by ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE / POOL / AFP)

“Italy is closing its airspace to Russia,” a government spokesman said in a brief statement, shortly after other European countries such as Germany, Sweden and Denmark announced similar measures.

The measure starts from 3pm Italy time on Sunday, Palazzo Chigi confirmed.

Italy joins other European countries in stepping up sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

SwedenDenmark, Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Luxembourg, Belgium and Poland have closed their airspace to Russian flights, forcing westbound Russian planes to make enormous diversions.

EXPLAINED: How Italy could be impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Swedish EU Minister Hans Dahlgren said that beyond individual European countries shutting off their airspace to Russian aircraft, closing the whole of European airspace is on the table.

EU leaders will meet again later today to discuss the latest package of sanctions against Russia.

Member comments

  1. Sidebar: The aircraft in the photo is a Russian made Ilyushin Il-96, which is an older aircraft mostly used in Cuba now.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

UKRAINE

Italy to send missile systems to Ukraine

Italy and France have together agreed to deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, the French defence ministry said on Friday.

Italy to send missile systems to Ukraine

The systems, called MAMBA or SAMP/T, are a vehicle-mounted battery of medium-range missiles designed to offer protection from airborne threats such as missiles and manned or unmanned aircraft.

The missile systems, jointly developed by NATO members France and Italy, will help Ukraine “defend itself against Russian drones, missiles and aircraft”, the ministry said.

The deliveries were a response to an urgent request by Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov made to his French and Italian counterparts to assist with “the protection of civilian populations and infrastructure from Russian air attacks”, it said in a statement.

During a visit by Reznikov to Paris on Tuesday, French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu had already announced that his country would ship 12 more Caesar truck-mounted howitzers and fresh air defence equipment to Ukraine.

France has yet to commit to sending Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine, another insistent request by Kyiv.

The MAMBA delivery had been under discussion for several weeks, and was finalised Friday in a phone call between Cornu and his Italian counterpart, Guido Crosetto, the statement said.

The systems, similar to the American Patriot systems, are to be delivered in the spring, the French ministry said.

One MAMBA was last year deployed in Romania, a NATO member sharing a border with Ukraine. With its range of 100 kilometres (62 miles) “we can fight a wide range of airborne threats”, a member of the French military with experience of the system told AFP in December.

These include short-range ballistic missiles, fighter planes, helicopters, drones “and even salvos of cruise missiles with multiple warheads”.

France has also promised to ship a radar system of the Ground Master 200 type made by French defence contractor Thales to Ukraine.

The radar allows detection of enemy airborne forces at 250 kilometres, and fight them at 100 kilometres. The radar, which can be moved by truck, also detects mortar and artillery fire at launch, acting as an early warning system.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Thousands in Italy march for peace in Ukraine

SHOW COMMENTS