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MH17 Sanctions Retaliation: Russia May Force Airlines to Reroute

MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev threatened on Tuesday to retaliate over European Union sanctions, with local media reporting that European flights to Asia over Siberia could be banned. "We should discuss possible retaliation," Medvedev said at a meeting with the Russian transport minister and a deputy chief executive of national airline, Aeroflot. The EU has widened its sanctions after last month's downing of a Malaysian airliner over territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow rebels, with the loss of 298 lives.

Budget airline Dobrolyot, owned by Aeroflot, was grounded last week after its aircraft leasing agreement with an E.U. was canceled because of the sanctions. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported that Russia may restrict or ban European airlines from flying over Siberia on Asian routes, a move that would impose costs on European carriers by making flights take longer and require more fuel. Separately, billionaire Gennady Timchenko told state news agency ITAR-TASS that U.S. company Gulfstream had stopped servicing his private jet.

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Reuters