Popsoi: Flights from Moldova to Russia Will Resume Only after Peace

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Direct flights from Moldova to Russia cannot be resumed until peace is restored in Ukraine and it retains control over its territory. This was stated by Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popsoi in an interview with Alexei Venediktov in the If Tomorrow Comes programme on RTVI. He noted that many countries, including Moldova, cut off air links with Russia after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, and this, of course, created difficulties for many citizens, including the Moldovan diaspora in Russia. “But given the horror that is going on now in Ukraine, this is only part of the measures that have been taken for security. So, I want to believe that in the near future there will be peace, there will be an opportunity to fly, but for this Ukraine must have control over its territory, must have its sovereignty. The war should end and the territories that are recognized by the international community as the territory of Ukraine should remain with Ukraine,” the Moldovan Foreign Minister stressed. Answering the question of the Russian journalist, he explained that Air Moldova will not be able to resume direct flights from Chisinau to Moscow, because it does not exist as a company. It is a bankrupt company, because the fugitive oligarch Ilan Sor, who is hiding in Israel and from time to time visits Moscow, has successfully ruined this firm, as well as many others in Moldova, and this entity will definitely not be able to operate in the near future. Speaking about other private companies, Mihail Popsoi said that the decision of private companies is exclusively their decisions, while there are no state-owned airlines in Moldova at the moment. The Moldovan foreign minister explained that the Moldovan government had joined most of the sanctions imposed against Russia. “But as far as flights are concerned, for example, there are not only sanctions, there are unbiased security factors. Therefore, Moldova will continue to take this issue very seriously. And as long as Russia is waging war against Ukraine, unfortunately, this issue is not on the agenda,” the Moldovan foreign minister outlined. On 24 February 2022, Moldova closed its airspace due to the war in Ukraine. Later, the authorities decided to open an air corridor via Romania. This allowed the resumption of many regular passenger services. However, the Civil Aviation Authority has banned flights to Russia. It is now possible to fly from Moldova to Russia only by transit through Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, with which Russia maintains air links. At the same time, Turkish Airlines, owned by a NATO country, flies to Moscow and St. Petersburg close to the Moldovan border: via Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Belarus. More than half a million Moldovans live in the Russian Federation. However, in order to get from Moldova to Russia by air, which is now blocked, our compatriots have to pay foreign airlines for transit air transportations to Russia through other countries large sums of money for a round trip flight.