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Ukrainian border guards threaten flight safety, cause losses to Aeroflot

March 13, 2014, 14:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Aeroflot’s spokesman Andrei Sogrin described two cases at the airports of Donetsk and Kharkiv when border guards did not allow two pilots to cross the border

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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, March 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Major Russian air carrier Aeroflot is enraged about the actions of Ukrainian border guards who deny the company’s pilots a chance to normal rest and recreation between flights on the territory of Ukraine without giving any reason. Aeroflot’s spokesman Andrei Sogrin told Itar-Tass about two cases at the airports of Donetsk and Kharkiv when border guards did not allow two pilots to cross the border.

“As a result, our pilots were deprived of normal conditions for necessary rest between the flights, they had to sleep inside the aircraft, and even in the presence and under the supervision of a border guard,” Sogrin said, adding such behavior breached rest scheduling requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The air carrier has already incurred direct losses because of numerous cases of Russian citizens being denied access to Ukraine.

“Over the last days, we had to transport at our own expense 32 passengers who did not have a return ticket from Ukrainian airports to Russia,” Sogrin said, adding that Ukrainian border guards deny entrance to the country to most of the arriving Russian citizens without explaining the reasons.

In the near future, the federal agency Rosaviation will officially notify the Ukrainian aviation authority that breaching international law against Russian air carriers’ staff is unacceptable. In March, flights to Ukraine were accompanied by “unprecedented violation of international law against Russian citizens - pilots of Russian air carriers - who were not allowed to enter the country for preflight rest between the flights”, Rosaviation said earlier.

Such attitude to Russian pilots, the report says, obviously had a negative effect on flight safety. The Ukrainian side violated ICAO requirements regulating crewmembers’ movement in the country that say crewmembers shall have unhampered access to a foreign airport (city) upon presentation of a crewmember ID.

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