President Joe Biden announced during Tuesday night’s State of the Union that the US will ban Russian aircraft from US airspace, joining a growing number of countries who are closing their skies to Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Tonight I’m announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,” the President said.
When asked if the Biden administration was considering this move in recent days, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the number of US flights that fly over Russia to go to Asia and other parts of the world played a role in the decision.
In recent days, the State Department has encouraged Americans in Russia to consider leaving immediately while there are still commercial flights out of the country. US officials believe there will still be ways for Americans to get out of Russia if Russian flights cannot come to the US, citing train options out of the country as one possibility.
The US joins Canada and the European Union in closing off its airspace to Russian aircraft. Before European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the entire EU would close off its airspace to Russian planes, several European countries — including Germany, France and Italy — had already done so.
Following Biden’s announcement Tuesday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the official notice banning Russian aircraft from US airspace would be posted Wednesday. This includes scheduled passenger flights as well as cargo and charter flights.
“The United States stands with our allies across the world in responding to Putin’s unprovoked aggression against the people of Ukraine,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.