Russia war fears: US agency urges ‘extreme caution’ to airlines flying near Ukraine

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Issuing a notice to US carrier over the weekend, the FAA warned against flying over the Russian-Ukrainian border due to flight safety risks. They noted “escalating regional tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which could potentially result in no-notice cross-border skirmishes, increased military activities and/or conflict”.

US civilian flights around the Russian-Ukrainian border have been prohibited by the FAA since 2014.

The FAA’s notice also said airlines must provide at least 72 hours notice to the agency of planned flights in the area.

US air regulators and the FAA are concerned Russian and Ukrainian troops could down a civilian aircraft in a conflict because of misidentification.

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting with Ukrainian government troops, international investigators said.

READ MORE: This could explode’ UK must stand firm as Putin invasion fears mount

The FAA’s warnings come after Russia has sent thousands of troops to the Eastern border of Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have seen rising tensions over conflict between Moscow-backed separatists in Crimea and Kyiv’s military.

In response to Russia’s movement of troops towards Ukraine, and to the country’s navy restricting part of the Black Sea, the US has expressed outrage and threatened retaliation.

US President Joe Biden warning Vladimir Putin that America reserves “the right to respond to any Russian retaliation against the United States” on Friday.

The EU has also voiced fears it would only take “a spark” to ignite conflict between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow moved troops.

Josep Borrell, top EU diplomat, said after a virtual meeting of the EU foreign ministers: “It is the highest military deployment of the Russian army on the Ukrainian borders ever.

“It’s clear that it’s a matter of concern when you deploy a lot of troops.

“Well, a spark can jump here or there.”

Figures from the EU say more than 100,000 Russian troops have amassed on the Ukrainian borders and in Crimea.

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British warships will also sail to the Black Sea in May amid rising tensions, according to senior Naval sources.

The Sunday Times reported the deployment is aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine and Britain’s NATO allies.

One Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will leave the Royal Navy’s carrier task group in the Mediterranean and head through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, according to the report.

RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will stand ready on the task group’s flag ship, the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to support the warships in the Black Sea, the report added.

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