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Russian watchdog: EU air agency has no relation to servicing air traffic over Black Sea

February 19, 2016, 10:43 UTC+3

The European Aviation Safety Agency reported that airlines may consider the possibility of flights above separate parts of Crimea

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KRASNOYARSK, February 19. /TASS/. Europe’s air safety body EASA has no relation to flights over the Black Sea, the head of Russia’s federal air transport agency said on Friday in comments to the Germany-based agency’s recent statement on allowing flights over Crimea.

"The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has no relation to servicing air traffic over the Black Sea. That’s why their statement is absolutely politicized," Alexander Neradko told an economic forum in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk.

The EASA statement runs counter to the decision of the International Civil Aviation Organization that has set up a special taskforce on flights over Crimea, he said.

UN’s aviation agency established a working group on flights over Crimea

UN’s aviation agency ICAO has established a working group on flights over Crimea and its first meeting is due to be held in March, the head of Russia’s federal air transport agency, Alexander Neradko, said on Friday.

The Black Sea littoral states will take part in the group’s work. "They will discuss the problems linked to flights in the area of Simferopol’s flight information," he said, adding that the EASA has not been invited.

On February 17, the EASA reported in a news bulletin that airlines may consider the possibility of flights above separate parts of Crimea, which had earlier been closed. The EASA recommended for use two air routes (L851 and M856) above the western part of the Black Sea, proposed by Ukraine in a set of measures to restore the use of air routes in that area.

Meanwhile, Ukraine asked the EASA to approve separate routes above Crimea back in the summer of 2015. But the EASA did not recommend to perform flights above Crimea over the Ukrainian side’s refusal to accept Russia’s sovereignty over the peninsula. 

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.

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