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Possible suspension of flights from Russia to more countries outside agenda — lawmaker

November 10, 2015, 18:24 UTC+3
Earlier, Russian presidential chief of staff said there have been no recommendations on the part of FSB and NAC to suspend Russia’s air services with other countries having high terrorist risks
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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

BRASILIA, November 10. /TASS/. Possible suspension of air service with other countries after Egypt is outside the agenda, Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Federation Council upper parliament house, said on Tuesday.

"No, such issue has not been discussed," she told journalists when asked whether Russia was eyeing to suspend flight to more countries over security considerations.

"The situation with Egypt is a specific case," she said. "I think the flight ban will be of temporary nature until the Egyptian authorities take proper measures and convince the world in absolute safety of flights."

Earlier, Russian presidential chief of staff Sergey Ivanov said there have been no recommendations on the part of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) to suspend Russia’s air services with other countries having high terrorist risks besides Egypt.

"As far as I know, there are no such recommendations. But it does not mean that relevant services are not thoroughly analyzing the situation with security in airports, first of all of Middle East countries, especially where there’s a big flow of Russian tourists," Ivanov said.

He added that he doubts air services with other Middle East countries could be suspended.

The problem of suspended air service with Egypt was in focus of a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich made a statement on the possibility of suspending flights to other countries.

"Of course, we are analyzing the situation with flight security in the whole world. There are no exceptions here, this is part of the work of our aviation services, our special services, security agencies, and there are such assessments," Dvorkovich said. "Of course, there are increased risks in those countries that are involved in different conflicts, this is a constant situation. It is not connected with recent events, and such external security audit without sending a special group is constantly conducted," he added.

"If our special services issue recommendations, we will then consider them. Special services have not issued any recommendations on other directions for now so there is no point in talking about it, it is irrelevant," the deputy prime minister added.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the possibility of suspending Russian flights to other countries was not being discussed at the presidential level. "I am not aware of this issue being discussed at the presidential level," Peskov said.

On Friday, November 6, the Russian president agreed with recommendations of the National Anti-terrorist Committee to suspend air service with Egypt until the causes of the A321 plane crash were identified. According to presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, flights to Egypt will be suspended until proper level of security is ensured. Putin also issued instructions to help Russians vacationing in Egypt return home. Peskov noted however that the suspension of flights did not mean that a terrorist attack was considered as a key theory of the Russian plane crash in northern Sinai.

An A321 passenger jet of Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier (flight 9268) bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It fell down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. There were four Ukrainian and one Belarusian nationals among the passengers. None survived.

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