Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has said that Russia’s decision to ban Ukrainian airlines from flying on transit through its airspace to some destinations will affect thousands of its passengers.

"Unilateral actions by Russia regarding restriction of flights are forcing UIA to significantly lengthen the routes on which its aircraft fly from Ukraine to eastern destinations. This will lead to a 15-20% increase in operating costs and flight delays, with the result that passengers will experience significant inconvenience," the airline said in a statement.

According to the airline, information from Russia’s Main Air Traffic Management Centre states that it will not consider UIA’s application to perform flights from Kiev to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan through authorized points of entry into the Russian airspace.

UIA apologizes to its passengers and partners for the inconvenience caused by the Russian authorities.

"The company is furious that the Russian authorities are trying to use air transport as an instrument of political pressure, cynically ignoring the interests of thousands of citizens of scores of countries who are passengers on UIA’s flights," the statement said.

As reported, two planes belonging to Ukrainian airlines delayed flights from Kazakhstan to Kiev for one and three hours on 8 August.