Facebook user Теимураз Бакрадзе has disseminated a piece of disinformation in social networks that there are direct flights from Russia to EU member states despite the EU’s displeasure with Georgia resuming direct flights with Russia. The publication also includes a screenshot which shows that the Avia Charter online platform is offering customers direct flights from Moscow to Berlin.
The screenshot which was published by the Facebook user was taken from the website of Avia Charter where flights of different airlines can be viewed according to the cost of the service and flight times. The information, as if there are direct flights from Moscow to Berlin, is indeed posted on the aforementioned website. However, it is not true - Russian airlines are prohibited from entering the airspace of the European Union and receiving services. Airline companies registered in the European Union are also restricted from flying to Russia - the Russian Federal Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) responded to the closure of the airspace by the European Union for Russian airlines with counter-sanctions and banned EU-registered aircraft from flying to Russia.
On the website of Air Charter, in the section of direct flights to Berlin, the Air France flight on 17 November 2023 can be seen.
After selecting the aforementioned option, the Air France website offered five flights on November 17, although none of them is a direct Moscow-Berlin flight according to the information posted. According to Avia Charter, Air France operates a Moscow-Paris-Berlin flight, although this information is also untrue – a Moscow-Paris-Berlin flight on Air France's official website cannot be found.
On 27 February, after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the EU banned Russian flights from entering the EU’s territory and receiving services. On the same day, Air France announced a suspension of flights to Russia as well as the use of Russian airspace.
In accordance with Regulation No 833/2014 of the European Council:
1. It is prohibited to provide goods and technology (aircrafts and their parts and components) suited for use in aviation or the space industry, as listed in Annex XI, and of jet fuel and fuel additives, as listed in Annex XX, exported from the Union, directly or indirectly to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia or for use in Russia.
2. It is prohibited to provide insurance and reinsurance services in relation to the assets specified in Annex XI to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia or for use in Russia.
3. It is prohibited to provide any of the following services or any combination of them, except pre-flight inspection, for any aircraft and aircraft component (in accordance with Annex XI) directly or indirectly to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, or for use in Russia: overhaul, repair, inspection, replacement, modification or defect elimination.
4. The following is prohibited:
4.1 Provision of technical assistance, brokerage services or other services related to the goods and technologies mentioned in the first paragraph and provision, production, service and use of these goods and technologies, directly or indirectly, to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, or for use in Russia.
4.2. Financing or provision of financial assistance related to the goods and technologies mentioned in the first paragraph, or for any sale, supply, transfer or export of these goods and technologies, or provision of technical assistance, directly or indirectly, to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, or for use in Russia.
5. It is further prohibited to land, take off or fly over the territory of the EU for any aircraft operated by a Russian airline in any form, or registered in Russia or not registered in Russia but owned or leased by any Russian/Russian natural or legal person, entity or body, or is under their control in any other form.
Therefore, the claim that there are direct flights from Russia to EU member states, particularly to Germany, is false. Russian airline companies are prohibited from entering EU airspace and receiving services. In addition, EU-registered air companies also do not take flights to Russia.
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