Medvedev: Russia could close airspace for Western airlines after possible new sanctions

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warns the Western countries against new sanctions and threatens to respond with “asymmetrical countermeasures”. Despite the ceasefire in Ukraine, the EU ambassadors on Friday agreed new sanctions on Russia to take effect this week. Medvedev said an overflight ban on western airlines a possible Russian response.

If new sanctions would come in force against Russian energy and financial sector, Russia would have to answer “asymmetric”. In an interview with the newspaper “Vedomosti” he specified that a possible countermeasure could be to ban western airline from using Russian airspace on transcontinental routes to and from Asia.

“We go for friendly relationships with our partners, so the Russian airspace is open for overflights”, said the Prime Minister.

If Western companies had to fly around Russian airspace it could cause in the bankruptcy of several airlines which already have economic problems, warned Medvedev. “This would be a bad story. We hope that our partners are aware of that,” said the head of Russian government.

Medvedev pointed out that previous sanctions have not helped to solve the crisis in Ukraine.

Source: SPIEGEL Online, Voice of Russia / RIA Novosti