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2019.05.22 10:02

Russian, Ukrainian tycoons avoid flight ban by landing in Vilnius

BNS2019.05.22 10:02

After Ukraine banned non-regular flights from and to Russia in April, private planes of tycoons from the two countries started landing in Vilnius for several minutes to avoid the direct flight ban, the 15min.lt news website reports.

According to 15min.lt, planes from Russia make short landings in Vilnius before taking off for Ukraine – or vice versa. It means that their flight is then recorded as one from Vilnius to Russia or Ukraine.

"We are recording a slight increase in the number of flights Ukraine-Vilnius-Russia and vice versa due to the ban," says Tadas Vasiliauskas, spokesman for Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), the airport operator in Lithuania.

The number of such landings is small and has little impact on the airport's revenue, Vasiliauskas said.

In April, data from the Flightradar24 system shows that the private plane of the Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedtchuk, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, flew in from Russia and left for Ukraine half an hour later.

Aviation expert Simonas Bartkus pointed out that Vilnius was only one of the cities used to avoid the Kyiv-introduced ban.

In early April, the Ukrainian government decided to ban non-regular (charter) flights from and to Russia, which was called an aggressor state in a resolution. Exempted from the ban are necessary flights to ensure missions of international organizations.

The Ukrainian government introduced a ban on regular air transport with Russia in late November 2015, stating that "Russia can use Ukraine's airspace to carry out provocations".