Russia rules out retaliation over Ukraine’s flights ban




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MOSCOW – Russia pledged on Friday not to strike back, even as its passenger planes were banned by Kiev from entering two eastern Ukrainian cities.
“The Federal Agency for Air Transportation has been informed starting from May 2, Ukrainian authorities have unilaterally banned Russian airlines from fulfilling flights to the airports Donetsk and Kharkov,’’ the agency had said in a statement.
Calling the ban an “unprecedented’’ breach of international air service agreements, Moscow however said the decision had seriously violated passengers’ rights and may cause a transport blockade in Ukraine’ eastern regions.
The agency said Moscow would not take any symmetrical measures, urging Kiev to refrain from any unfriendly steps.
The ban came the same day as Ukraine initiated a military assault in its eastern city of Slaviansk, trying to retake government buildings occupied by pro-Russia activists.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defence Ministry has confirmed the loss of two helicopters.
It said the aircraft were shot down by a surface-to-air missile, which proved the activists were not civilians but well-equipped and well-trained .
The Kremlin said the assault meant that Kiev had “crossed out’’ the Geneva agreements reached on April 17.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry also repeated its claim in a statement that “using the against its own people is a crime and will lead Ukraine to a catastrophe.’’(Xinhua/NAN)