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Lawmaker calls Kiev IS associate for closing airspace for Syria-bound Russian planes

September 10, 2015, 16:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Ukraine has closed its airspace for Russian planes flying to Syria

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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. Kiev’s move to close air space for Russian planes en route to Syria upon Washington’s demands makes Ukraine an associate of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, Russian MP Leonid Slutsky said on Thursday.

"Kiev’s decision on closing air space for the flights of Russia’s planes to Syria has been of course taken upon the US instruction. Thus, at the instigation of Washington Kiev turns into an IS associate," said Slutsky, who heads Russia's State Duma committee on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs.

Slutsky stressed that Russia helped and will help Syria to fight against terrorists. "The sky closed by Ukraine will not stop us. Like in Bulgaria case, we will find the alternative route," he said.

The first deputy chairman of the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee, Vladimir Dzhabarov, has dismissed Ukraine’s decision on closing air space as a "populist move."

"Most likely, this is done in tune with NATO’s countries, like Bulgaria, to say that they [Ukraine] have also allegedly joined the fight against Russia," the senator said commenting on Kiev’s statement.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he'd ordered Ukraine’s state air traffic services to increase control with Eurocontrol on the flights of any Russian planes to Syria.

"Now the air space over Ukraine is closed in general and the air space over the neutral waters is under special control," Yatsenyuk said at the meeting with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday it refused to allow air corridor for Russian aircraft carrying humanitarian assistance to Syria between September 1 and September 24.

"We denied permission to let Russian military-transport planes cross Bulgarian territory because on the basis of the available information we have reasonable doubts the cargoes are not the declared ones. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry made that decision of its own accord," the ministry’s spokesperson said.

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