Israel to underwrite airlines flying to Russia due to sanctions over Ukraine war

AFP — Israel was poised Tuesday to extend financial guarantees for its airlines to fly into Russia, raising criticism in Kyiv as most Western airlines boycott Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

A source in the Finance Ministry who spoke anonymously to freely discuss pending decisions told AFP the office would seek to extend underwriting put in place last week for Israeli airlines flying into Russia that are not eligible for their regular insurance because of current sanctions.

The $2 billion guarantee was set to expire on March 9.

The European Union, Canada and the United States have suspended flights to Russia and closed their airspace to Russian aircraft as part of sanctions.

Air links are still open from other countries to and from Russia, including Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has not joined the sanctions as he attempts to balance warm relations between both Kyiv and Ukraine.

Bennett flew to Moscow on Saturday, breaking the observance of Shabbat in an effort to mediate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

A misunderstanding about Israel’s continued flights into Russia caused a diplomatic flap.

On Tuesday Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba apologized and corrected himself after tweeting that Israel’s national carrier El Al was still accepting Russia’s Mir payment system.

“While the world sanctions Russia for its barbaric atrocities in Ukraine, some prefer to make money soaked in Ukrainian blood. Here is @EL_AL_ISRAEL accepting payments in Russian banking system ‘Mir’ designed to evade sanctions,” Kuleba wrote a day earlier, posting an undated screen shot of El Al’s checkout page.

A spokesperson for El Al told AFP that the airline stopped accepting Mir payments four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

“EL AL has blocked the use of the Mir credit card as of February 28, 2022,” the airline said in a statement, adding that it had delivered humanitarian supplies destined for Ukraine and evacuated those fleeing war.

Kuleba acknowledged the use of Mir was blocked. “I am grateful to El Al for its important humanitarian operations and convey my apologies,” he wrote.

Do you value The Times of Israel?

If so, we have a request.

Every day, our journalists aim to keep you abreast of the most important developments that merit your attention. Millions of people rely on ToI for fast, fair and free coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

We care about Israel – and we know you do too. So today, we have an ask: show your appreciation for our work by joining The Times of Israel Communityan exclusive group for readers like you who appreciate and financially support our work.

Yes, I’ll give Yes, I’ll give Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREEas well as access exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

Join Our Community Join Our Community Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.