Thursday, December 1, 2022

Dutch Airline KLM Suspends Flights To Ukraine Amid Rising Fears Of Russian Invasion

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Topline
Dutch flag carrier KLM said Saturday it was halting flights to and from Ukraine as worries mount that a Russian invasion could be imminent.

Logo of KLM (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Key Facts

The suspension came after the Netherlands urged its citizens to evacuate Ukraine, joining a number of other countries, including the U.S., that have warned their nationals to leave.

Other airlines have moved to limit exposure to Ukraine, with Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and KLM last month changing their schedules so their planes and crews would not have to remain in the country overnight.

Low-cost giant Ryanair has also reduced flights to Ukraine.

Key Background
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday a Russian invasion could begin “any day now,” urging Americans to leave Ukraine. With an attack appearing increasingly imminent, Sullivan warned an invasion would start with deadly missile strikes and aerial bombings, posing a high risk of civilian casualties. Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said a Russian invasion could begin before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Russia has amassed roughly 130,000 troops near the Ukrainian border in a buildup that began in the fall.

Tangent
The Netherlands and KLM may be particularly sensitive to the risks in Ukraine. In 2014, a Malaysia Airlines jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 onboard, including 196 Dutch citizens. Ukrainian and Dutch authorities have accused Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile.

Further Reading
Dutch airline KLM to stop flying to Ukraine – ANP news (Reuters)

U.S., U.K. Pull Military Trainers Out Of Ukraine With Russian Attack Possible ‘Any Day Now’ (Forbes)  

Lufthansa reschedules some Ukraine flights amid Russia tensions (Reuters)

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