Russian Airlines Banned From European Airspace

This isn’t just limited to majority state-owned Aeroflot. It applies to all Russian airlines (even private ones, like oneworld member S7). Even Germany is now sending munitions to Ukraine. European airlines, including most recently Lufthansa, are suspending flights to Russia.

‘Some’ Russian banks will be kicked off of SWIFT. That doesn’t just make it difficult to transact and liquidate assets, it could lead to a run on these banks.

Russians are even now cut off from Pornhub (without use of a VPN).

It seems as though Russia eventually prevails, but the costs to them are far higher than they’ve expected. And it’s not clear what their end game looks like, so even the notion of prevailing is murky. Kiev is nearly surrounded – and attacks are about to intensify in advance of a rumored NATO ‘no fly’ zone over Kiev starting… tomorrow.

This is Russians fighting people who look like them. And Ukranians are far more motivated, “if Russians stop fighting there’s peace, if Ukranians stop fighting there’s no more Ukraine.” Ukraine isn’t inclined to stop.

Unquestionably Ukraine is winning the meme war and the hearts and minds of the West. That’s not surprising. They’re a democracy. They’re being invaded. Their homes are being attacked with rockets.

What can you do, though? I have no idea the legitimacy of GoFundMe’s for weaponry. Certainly encourage a halt to investment projects in Russia by the companies you frequent (for readers of this blog, make sure hotel chains you’re loyal to know not to invest). More than 80 Western-managed hotels are expected to open in Russia this decade.

I’m surprised the U.S. is still allowing flights by Aeroflot. In general I think sanctions are likely baked into Putin’s action, they’re expected and he’s willing to endure them. That doesn’t mean not to do them, recognizing that they may trigger retaliatory action. Although openly shipping weapons should already be doing that, so perhaps there’ll be no incremental retaliation.

And it looks like there’s finally some hacking of Russia going on:

Meanwhile, I’d endorse this:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This week and even today the internet has been working in Kiev in parts, and that was even without the oh-so-great loony Musk. You too can try your luck in remaining in contact with people in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine using WhatsApp — one of those wonders given to us by a Ukrainian who became American and is now a Ukrainian-American.

    What obvious foreign policy disaster for Biden? Nothing more than the mess he inherited from the Trump Administration. Let’s not forget that Trump was hostile toward Ukraine for Ukraine’s unwillingness to do Trump’s bidding on beating the drums on Hunter Biden’s ties with Ukrainian business interests.

    Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was ongoing during the Trump Administration, using not only a proxy force but also embedded Russian special forces in regions that Putin has this month claimed are independent of Ukraine. That downplayed invasion with its back and forth was during Trump’s time as President.

    Real leaders during time of crisis don’t behave like Trump and lick their finger to see which way the poll winds blow in deciding what is right and wrong. Trump’s not a leader, he’s a buffoon who made messes, made messes worse for the country and the world. With Biden, now the adults are again in the room to try to pick up the pieces from the tantrum-throwing adult-sized toddler Trump. Biden has an unthankful job, but he’s doing it and doing it well on the international stage given the bad hand he was dealt by the previous Administrations.

    Biden has managed to get the Germans to move and move on their positions over Russian energy/business ties, over militarily supplying Ukraine, over SWIFT. And it’s under Biden that Germany has committed to increase defense spending to a post-Cold War record. Biden has put together an alliance that then-President Trump mocked and didn’t appreciate, and Biden has made it stronger. Biden has his eyes on getting Sweden into NATO and if he can swing in Finland too, Biden’s doing more to build NATO than Putin expected. I count that as a success in the foreign policy realm.

    Exiting Afghanistan was always going to be a debacle for any US President. Having an expensive, long and brutal occupation in hostile territory is an invitation to inevitably have the exit be a debacle and nothing but a debacle. Trump didn’t exactly help to make sure it wouldn’t be a debacle.

  2. It’s Russia that is declining in relative power on the world stage more than the US. Russia has China as its savior. And nowadays nothing speaks more to decline in relative power than having to count on China as the emergency backstop when dealing with opposing powers.

    And like many a poorly-aging bully, the tantrums get worse as their relative decline becomes ever more obvious to the poorly-aging bully’s targets and opponents.

    The Trump-supporting crowd is very much like Putin and his Russian supporters — what with all their insecurities about their (declining) place in the country and on the world stage driving them to lash out in anger and support angry madmen in their calls to “make ____ great again” and cry about “”you’/’they’ will not replace ‘us'”.

  3. Anybody seen Hunter lately? I mean, its nice of the Bidens to support Ukraine as a fitting “thank you” for laundering their money for the past many years. Don’t forget: “10% for the Big Guy”.

  4. Real leaders own and fix the problems that exist, including what they inherit.

    What you write proves you aren’t a real leader.

  5. @ GUwonder: “Why are you afraid of a spade being called a spade?” … really? Thought you were woke.

  6. Gary (and GUWonder, et. al.):

    Words matter. Defiantly continuing to use the Russian transliteration of Ukraine’s capital, just because that was prevalent while the city and country were under Soviet domination during your childhood, instead of the Ukrainian transliteration adopted by the Ukrainian government, the U.S. government, and most international bodies and press organizations is to adopt Putin’s rhetoric of the indistinguishability and indivisibility of the Russian and Ukrainian people ( and the illegitimacy of the Ukrainian state as an artificial construct of the Soviet Union (

    Using the Ukrainian transliteration is not “revisionist” as you claim, it is correctly rendering the monosyllabic Ukrainian word Київ as written in the Ukrainian language into English (or the Latin alphabet), rather than transliterating the Russian word Киев and pronouncing it with two syllables. Likewise, the largest city in Kazakhstan is Almaty, not the Russian Alma-Ata. There are many other examples of changes of city names since 1991 from Soviet names to names in the local language, which are then rendered into English.

    I do give you credit for dropping the word “the” before “Ukraine,” which also was prevalent during the Soviet era, but no longer is commonly used because it also connotes that Ukraine is nothing more than a region of Russia, like the steppe or the Far East. This does, however, undermine your argument about the immutability of geographic names learned in childhood.

    I also note this is not a case in which there is a common English name for the city. In English we say Belgrade, Serbia and Athens, Greece instead of transliterating the local language names for these cities and countries. Likewise, we say Vienna, Austria (not Wien, Österreich) and Munich, Bavaria, Germany (not München, Bayern, Deutschland) and the successor state to the Ottoman Empire in English is the Republic of Turkey (short form Turkey), not Türkiye Cumhuriyeti or Türkiye—yet. In English, we do say Istanbul (not Constantinople) and why they changed it I can’t say, but it’s nobody’s business but the Turks.

    I realize you have little regard for the U.S. State Department (still think tourism to Lviv would be just fine? ), but it has used Kyiv for the U.S. Embassy in the Ukrainian capital since 2006. In 2019, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names determined that Kyiv is the only acceptable name for U.S. government use (

    Putin’s version of history, culture, and language is what is “revisionist.” Don’t promote and disseminate Russian disinformation.

  7. @GUWonder – you are truly pathetic and incoherent, but history does not lie. There was peace when Trump was president. Now with Biden there is war and chaos, in Afghanistan and Ukraine, and who knows where else by the time his junta is replaced in 2024. Chew on that.

  8. “There was peace when Trump was President”? Despite Trump’s riding on the coattails of the Obama-Biden Administration, no. Afghanistan was still a bloody mess during Trump’s time.

  9. lol GUWonder is already making excuses for bidens latest failure in policy. Afghanistan, Ukraine everything biden has done has been a mess and a failure. The people in Ukraine are angry at the US for turning their back on them.

  10. Since Putin’s useful idiot Trump has been tossed out of power, the US, under Biden, has turned hard on Putin’s Russia. And so it’s not surprising that Putin’s people in Ukraine would be angry at the US while the Ukrainian patriots and freedom fighters are being supported by a Biden Administration that has rallied the world against Putin’s further invasion of Ukraine.

  11. When he was President, Trump resisted militarily supporting Ukraine until he was told it was good for business:

    How much the Trump crime family got in kickbacks is still to be determined, as they’ve got dirty buddies who sort of specialize in corruption and trying to secretly squirrel away the corrupt proceeds.

    And who can forget that Trump refused to release military aid to Ukraine because they wouldn’t do his dirty work and publicly pretend as if Hunter Biden violated Ukrainian law:

    Trump then went on to push out the Ukrainian-American military officer who was a whistleblower.

  12. Amazing how 99% of this has nothing at all to do with air travel. I guess Gary sees himself as a hack world news reporter instead of just a hack air travel reporter now.

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