Lithuania joins Russia dispute over closed EU airspace

  • 2024-05-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Transport and Communications Ministry will represent Lithuania in a 37-nation dispute with Russia at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council over the closure of the European Union's airspace and the airspace of a number of other countries for Moscow, the Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday.

Transport and Communications Minister Marius Skuodis says Russia, which has submitted a request and a memorandum to the ICAO, is seeking to show that the airspace restrictions imposed on it as a result of the war in Ukraine have damaged its aviation sector.

"That this is to the detriment of Russian companies and people," Skuodis told a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The ministry later told BNS that Russia's lawsuit had to do with "the steadily deteriorating aviation safety situation in this country and Russia's declining reputation in the global aviation community".

The government on Wednesday instructed the ministry to defend Lithuania's interests by involving domestic or foreign lawyers and other necessary experts.

Following Moscow's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022 the ICAO Council condemned the aggressor country for violating Ukraine's airspace and expelled it from the organization on October 4 that year.

According to the ministry, Russia's claim must be rejected by a vote of all ICAO Council member states.

"Lithuania has full confidence in ICAO assessment and decisions regarding Russia. We believe that Russia's claim has nothing to do with the ICAO Council's competence and will be rejected. This issue will be decided by a vote of all ICAO Council members after each of the parties has submitted its response to Russia's request," the ministry told BNS.