Lufthansa explains move to cancel night flights to Kyiv, saying it is ‘optimization’

24 January, 01:34 PM
Lufthansa denies rumors that recent changes to flights to Ukraine are due to

Lufthansa denies rumors that recent changes to flights to Ukraine are due to "political risks" (Photo:REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Lufthansa’s decision to cancel night flights to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is not due to fears of a further Russian invasion, the German airline told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s Ukrainian service on Jan. 23

The company was responding to former Ukrainian MP Victoria Voytsitska, who wrote on Facebook about Lufthansa’s decision to cancel the night flights.

The airline’s press service said the decision was made in order to optimize its flight schedule so that the crews would not spend the night in Kyiv, but would immediately return to their home bases.

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Lufthansa, as before, will operate three flights a day to Kyiv – two from Frankfurt am Main and one from Munich, the company added.Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October.

As of early December, about 100,000 Russian soldiers were deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories in the Donbas, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in Ukraine’s parliament on Dec. 3.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.

Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”

Proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.

Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.

On Jan. 14, the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper and the U.S.-based CNN news channel reported that Russia had positioned covert operatives in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack.

While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead demanding that it be provided with “security guarantees” by the United States and NATO.

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