| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Around a dozen Russian aircraft stranded in Switzerland

The closure of airspace in many European countries to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine has stranded around a dozen Russian aircraft at Swiss airports, according to Switzerland’s civil aviation authority on Wednesday.

“I expect around a dozen aircraft in Switzerland,” said a spokesperson for the Federal Office of Civil Aviation. EuroAirport near Basel, which straddles the Swiss-French border, was included.

He said there were two planes in Geneva, including an Aeroflot passenger jet, but none in Zurich, and that not all airports had responded to his survey.

Swiss broadcaster SRF said its investigation had found private aircraft believed to belong to Russian oligarchs were on the ground at EuroAirport.

It said one of the aircraft was believed to belong to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, and had flown to Basel from London at the end of February. Another was thought to belong to billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, it said.

Neither could be reached for immediate comment on the report. The airport declined comment.

Switzerland adopted European Union sanctions against Russia and closed its airspace to Russian aircraft and airlines on Feb. 28.

Abramovich and Vekselberg are not personally sanctioned in Switzerland but would still be affected by the airspace closure.

Russia’s super-rich oligarchs have been the focus of Western pressure following the invasion of Ukraine, due to their links to the Kremlin.

Moscow says its actions are a “special operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and removing leaders it casts as dangerous.

  • Reuters