Insurance companies end airspace coverage in Russian-Ukrainian conflict


Days after the United States and Canada ordered most diplomats out of Ukraine amid heightened risk of a Russian invasion, insurance companies also began disconnecting and refusing to cover the Ukrainian airspace.

On Monday, Ukraine International Airlines told local news outlets it had received “an official notification from the insurance companies to end aircraft insurance for flights in Ukraine’s airspace” out of concern of an imminent Russian invasion.

While Ukraine has been in a semi-permanent state of war since Russia annexed the island of Crimea in 2014, tensions have flared after Western countries like the US and UK reported a buildup of Russian troops around the Ukrainian border dating back to the fall. of 2021.

What is the Ukraine-Russia conflict?

White House national security advisers put the number of Russian troops around the Eastern European country at 130,000 and warn that Russia could invade “essentially at any time”.

Western governments have either pulled their diplomats out of Ukraine entirely or moved them further west in the country in recent weeks.

While the Russian government has repeatedly denied that it is planning an invasion and has maintained its right to maintain troops on any part of the country’s territory, past annexation and continued Russian-backed separatist unrest in two of Ukraine’s eastern regions have left many people in a perpetual state of fear of Russia’s intentions towards its neighbour.

Despite warnings from the West about the current situation, the Ukrainian government has repeatedly tried to play down the panic and say an attack is not imminent.

On Monday, the Dutch airline KLM (KLM) had suspended flights to Ukraine and through the country’s airspace, while German airline Lufthansa (DLAKF) and UK airline British Airways British Airways was considering similar suspensions.

While Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said “most airlines continue to operate without restrictions”, insurance company withdrawals are likely to take a serious toll.

Not only will the country’s airline industry be affected, but also thousands of flights that cross the airspace to other European countries and beyond each week will be affected.

What happens now that the insurance companies are pulling out?

To maintain the flow of planes crossing its airspace, the Ukrainian government has allocated 16.6 billion hryvnia ($592 million) for insurance costs independently.

Ukrainian leader

But with more and more airlines withdrawing or reconsidering routes, the cost of flying in Ukrainian airspace may become too risky for airlines or insurance companies.

Another Ukraine-based carrier, SkyUp Airlines, was recently forced to land a plane carrying more than 170 passengers from the Portuguese island of Madeira in Moldova instead of Kiev, after the Irish company that charters its jets deemed it unsafe to enter Ukrainian airspace.

“Negotiations with insurers have been difficult and our overseas partners continue to regularly assess their own risks and monitor the situation,” SkyUp CEO Dmitry Seroukhov said in a statement Monday.


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