KLM cancels flights to Ukraine – 02/12/2022

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KLM cancels flights to Ukraine – The Dutch airline also announced that it will indefinitely stop flying over Ukrainian airspace until further notice.

KLM normally operates two flights per day from Amsterdam to Kiev, with the second one already canceled on Saturday.

The airline made the decision after Dutch Foreign Minister Woebke Hoekstra urged all Dutch citizens in Ukraine to leave the country “as soon as possible” as “the security situation on the border with Russia has deteriorated”.

In a conversation with reporters, Hoekstra insisted that this matter should be “taken seriously” and reminded citizens that “the Dutch themselves remain primarily the responsibility to leave the country”.

On the ministry’s travel advisory map, Ukraine is now marked in red, meaning all flights are discouraged, and Dutch citizens are advised to “depart while commercial flights are still available”.

Most of the staff at the Dutch embassy in Kiev will also leave the country and only minimal service will be maintained, and a kind of temporary diplomatic center will be set up in Lviv to provide emergency assistance such as visas and safe behavior.

Fears of a Russian invasion

The Dutch government’s decision followed in the footsteps of other countries such as Belgium, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, which urged their citizens to leave Ukraine immediately, as did the United States.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have increased in recent days, according to Washington, although the Ukrainian government has urged all its citizens to remain calm and assured that Ukraine’s armed forces will repel “any attack.”

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In response to a question from AFP news agency, Lufthansa said the situation in Ukraine was “closely monitored”. “The suspension of air traffic is being examined, but there is no decision on this at the moment,” the German airline said. Air France issued a similar statement.

In July 2014, a Russian missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, causing a Boeing 777 to crash over Ukraine. All 298 people on board, mostly Dutch, died – the flight left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. Investigators concluded that the Buk-Talar missile was launched from an anti-aircraft brigade in the Russian city of Kursk, near the border with Ukraine.

Lou (Lusa, AFP)

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