On 23 October 2015 Russian and Ukrainian delegations held negotiations in Brussels on outstanding issues related to air transport. The Russian delegation was led by Mr. Alexander Neradko, Head of the Federal Air Navigation Service (Rosaviatsiya), the Ukrainian delegation – by Mr. Eduard Demin, acting Chairman of the State Aviation Service of Ukraine.
The negotiations followed requests by Ukrainian air carriers for Rosaviatsiya to take measures to maintain regular air links between cities of Russia and Ukraine, referring to long-time family, historical, cultural, economic and social ties between our peoples.
It is well known that in September 2015 the Kiev authorities, on the basis of a presidential decree, took a politicised and unconstructive decision to ban 25 Russian air carriers from operating flights to Ukraine from 25 October 2015 under an illegitimate pretext that Russian air carriers allegedly violate Ukrainian legislation by operating flights to Russian Crimea. In response to these unfriendly steps by Ukraine, the Russian side had to adopt similar measures and ban Ukrainian air carriers from flying to Russia from the same date.
In the course of negotiations the Russian side proposed to resolve the issue on the basis of the principle of priority of international law over national legislation.
The Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Ukraine on Air Connection and Cooperation in the Field of Air Transport of 12 January 1994 is a piece of international law and has obvious priority over a sanction-like Ukrainian decree with regard to Russian air carriers.
According to the Agreement on Air Connection and Cooperation, all disputes shall be settled by way of consultations between aviation authorities. Based on this approach and in full compliance with international law, the Russian side proposed to lift all existing restrictions for direct and transit flights for Russian and Ukrainian air carriers.
The Russian proposals also suggested that starting from 25 October 2015 Ukrainian authorities should no longer persecute crew members and search aircraft of Russian air companies or impose fines on Russian air carriers operating flights to the Republic of Crimea.
Apparently, given the lack of respective mandate the Ukrainian side was unable to substantially discuss these constructive proposals and instead proposed to consider lifting reciprocal restrictions exclusively on transit flights.
At the same time, lifting restrictions on transit flights will not help resolve the main issue – maintaining regular air links between cities of Russia and Ukraine, which was requested by Ukrainian air carriers and is in the interest of air passengers. 75 per cent of all passengers of these flights are known to be Ukrainian citizens.
The Russian side reminded that only two days remain until 25 October – a time frame in which, given political will, the Ukrainian side has every possibility to adopt the only correct decision to maintain the air links to the benefit of citizens of our states.
Source: website of Rosaviatsiya