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A plane bearing the logo of Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot in Colomiers, France, on Sept. 26, 2017.Regis Duvignau/Reuters

The European Union and Canada will ban Russian planes from their respective airspaces, as part of a now-daily escalation in pressure on President Vladimir Putin to end his war on Ukraine.

A quick succession of European countries barred Russian planes from their skies over the weekend, culminating in the announcement from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday that the entire EU would prohibit Russian planes.

The EU announced the decision to close its skies to Russian aircraft amid a host of other moves, including financing the purchase and delivery of weapons in a show of support for Ukraine.

Just hours before the aviation announcement, Canada’s Transport Minister rolled out a similar measure.

“The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine,” Omar Alghabra said in a statement.

Russia has no direct flights to Canada but its airspace is often used for routes flying into the United States.

On Sunday, Albania, which is not a member of the EU, also announced it was closing its airspace to Russian planes.

John Gradek, an aviation expert and lecturer at McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies, said Canada’s ban will be impactful – not so much because of direct Canadian-Russian flights, but because so many routes to and from Russia rely on Canadian airspace.

As of Sunday evening, the United States had not enacted a similar ban, but Mr. Gradek pointed to a number of Aeroflot routes that will be seriously altered, or cancelled altogether, because of Canada’s ban.

Two regular Aeroflot flights from Los Angeles to Russia will likely be scrapped because they rely on access to Canadian airspace, he said. Other Aeroflot flights from Miami and Washington could take an hour or two longer because they take a route over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Flights from the Caribbean, operated by Russian charter airlines, will have to be rerouted because of their proximity to Atlantic Canada, he said.

“It is a significant move,” he said.

The ban will be even more disruptive if Moscow issues a retaliatory ban on Canadian aircraft from its airspace – a move that he said is almost a certainty. He pointed to a direct Air Canada flight from Vancouver to New Delhi that travels almost entirely through Canadian and Russian airspace.

Despite Canada’s decision to close its airspace to Russian aircraft, a Russia-bound aircraft crossed into Canadian airspace a few hours later – a mistake that the federal government pinned on the non-profit agency that monitors Canada’s airspace.

Aeroflot 111, which travels between Miami and Moscow, crossed into airspace over Quebec at about 6 p.m.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr. Alghabra said that Nav Canada – the privately run, non-profit corporation that monitors air traffic in Canadian airspace – allowed the flight to pass.

“NavCan mistakenly permitted a banned aircraft into Canadian airspace. This shouldn’t have happened,” Valérie Glazer, the spokesperson, said in an e-mailed statement.

Mr. Alghabra will be meeting with its chief executive officer to understand why the flight was permitted entry, she said. “Canadian airspace remains closed to Russian planes.”

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesperson for Nav Canada said that Aeroflot declared that flight 111 was a “humanitarian flight,” as it crossed into Canadian airspace. Such a declaration requires “special handling” by air traffic controllers, Nav Canada’s Jonathan Bagg said in the statement, and after making it, the aircraft continued unimpeded.

Mr. Bagg said Nav Canada will co-operate with Transport Canada’s investigation. The navigation service said it is also working with other countries’ navigation agencies to ensure Russian aircrafts are re-routed before they are near Canadian airspace. In the case of Aeroflot 111, it passed over Maine before flying over Eastern Quebec.

As for Canadian travellers currently stuck in Russia, Mr. Gradek said their best bet for returning home was to get to a country in the Middle East or possibly Turkey, and to avoid Europe – which has an expanding list of countries that have banned Russian flights.

In Europe, Ms. von der Leyen said the ban will apply to all Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled aircraft.

“These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU,” she said in a statement.

“Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane – and that includes the private jets of oligarchs.”

The airspace bans are part of wide-ranging sanctions levelled on the Kremlin after Russia invaded Ukraine last week. On Saturday, Western countries announced they would block some Russian banks from accessing the SWIFT international banking system.

The aviation announcement further isolates Russia and leaves its planes now banned from many key transit hubs and risks stranding its citizens abroad while European and Canadian citizens may now be stuck in Russia. Mr. Putin did not immediately retaliate but he already did against Britain when it banned Russian planes several days ago.

“It is quite a substantive blow to Russia,” said Viacheslav Morozov, a professor of EU-Russia Studies at Estonia’s University of Tartu. The West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with intensifying sanctions show that a “line has been crossed.”

Despite the possible economic and security consequences of the sanctions, he said there is broad consensus for them and warned they will have serious long-term effects for Russia, even if the country does change course.

“It will be very difficult to restore trust and restore economic ties and bring investments back. All of that is going to last for years, if not decades,” he said.

Prof. Morozov said the move adds to the already far-reaching sanctions effecting Russia’s aviation industry and noted that it’s a change that also affects ordinary people, who will not be able to travel to visit family. Although he noted most Russians do not travel abroad.

“I think the aviation sector as such will be hit pretty hard by all the sanctions combined,” he said, the overall economic sanctions will make it difficult to get spare parts, service planes and lease them.

Before the EU-wide announcement, Nordic and Baltic states had already come out strongly in favour of the ban.

Icelandic Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun Gylfadottir said on Sunday the move was being done “in solidarity with Ukraine.”

“It is now absolutely necessary to proceed with further tough measures to isolate Russia,” Swedish EU Minister Hans Dahlgren told public service radio SR.

Russia’s likely countermeasure will heavily hurt Finland’s state carrier Finnair.

“If Russia in parallel closes its airspace from Finnish aircrafts, it would have significant impact on Finnair as our Asian traffic would in practice come to a standstill,” Finnair spokeswoman Paivyt Tallqvist told Reuters in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.

“Going around Russian airspace prolongs flight times so much that it would not be financially possible to operate our Asian flights,” she said.

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