The Canadian government has closed its airspace to all Russian aircrafts after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as introduced a series of sweeping financial sanctions targeting the aggressor nation. 

“All of Canada is united in its outrage of President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in a press release on Sunday. “In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft.”

The press release said that the flyover ban would include the airspace above Canada’s territorial waters, effective immediately and until further notice. 

Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot has multiple flights per day through Canadian airspace en route to the USA and elsewhere. 

Aero Consulting Experts CEO Ross Aimer told The Canadian Press the Canadian airspace is a critical route for Aeroflot and that Russia would retaliate to flyover bans. 

“It’s also a very symbolic message,” said Aimer. “When they close it, it’s devastating, because you’re basically telling your friends and neighbors, ‘You’re no longer welcome in my home.'”

Western carriers often fly over Russia en route to Asia and the Middle East, but commercial airplanes have been steering clear of Ukraine and parts of Belarus and western Russia.

The United Kingdom suspended Aeroflot’s foreign carrier permit, with Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic following suit. Russia retaliated by banning commercial flights from these countries. 

Finance minister and deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland also announced a series of financial sanctions against Russia on Monday. These include barring Canadian banks from doing business with the Russian Central Bank as well as an asset freeze of Russian “sovereign wealth funds.”

“Canada and its allies continue to take concerted action to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure. This has never been done before at this scale – today we are taking a historic step by directly censuring Russia’s central bank,” said Freeland.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, drawing criticism from Canadian politicians of all parties.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the invasion, saying, “we will continue to take decisive action to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and by extension, democratic principles, freedom and human rights around the world.”

Trudeau announced that he would be imposing restrictions on 58 Russian individuals and entities, including banks, financial elites and their families. Members of the Russian Security Council will be sanctioned, he said. 

Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen called on Trudeau to take further action. 

“This unprovoked attack, coming on the heels of a joint pact between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, is the most serious threat to the rules-based international order since 1945 – and because of that, a serious threat to global peace and security,” said Bergen in a statement. 

Bergen said that Canada should expel Russian ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov, while Russia needs to be removed from organizations such as the G20 and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 

True North is following this developing story.