Tit for tat: Germany blocks incoming Russian flights

Berlin, Germany: Germany has blocked flights operated by Russian airlines from arriving in its territory in tit-for-tat action after Moscow failed to provide authorizations for Lufthansa, the transport ministry said Wednesday, amid tensions over Belarus.

Two Russia-bound Lufthansa flights that were due to depart earlier Wednesday from Germany had to be canceled because Russian authorities did not provide the necessary permits for them in time, said the ministry.

"Due to the reciprocal practice, the Federal Aviation Authority also did not issue any further permits for flights operated by Russian airlines as long as authorizations are pending on the Russian side," it added.

Three Aeroflot flights were affected by the cancellations on Tuesday and another four on Wednesday said the ministry.

"Once permits for Lufthansa flights are granted by the Russian site, the flights of Russian airlines will also be authorized," added the German ministry.

While the ministry did not specify the reason for the blockade by Russian authorities, some flights operated by European airlines including Air France were canceled last week after Moscow rejected flight plans that would have skipped Belarusian airspace.

Lufthansa has confirmed that it is no longer flying over Belarus after the EU urged airlines to avoid the country's airspace.

The EU's drastic advice came after the Belarusian regime forced the diversion of a Ryanair plane in order to arrest an opposition journalist on board.

Moscow last week said the cancellation of several European flights to Moscow was down to "technical reasons".

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