Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry announced a $590 million fund to insure aircraft flying through the country’s airspace, amid reports that global insurers were suspending coverage due to the threat of a large–scale Russian attack.
The money will be taken from the state budget and placed on an escrow account, to be used for “guaranteeing the safety of flights through Ukraine for insurance companies, reinsurers, leasing companies and airlines.”
Interfax reported earlier that British reinsurance giant Lloyd’s of London notified all Ukrainian aviation insurers on Feb. 12 of their intention to halt all war insurance provision over Ukraine.
A London-based insurance source told the Kyiv Independent that “if Lloyd’s won't write (the policy) at all, then there’s little chance anything will run.”
Meanwhile, Andriy Guck, a partner at Kyiv-based law firm Ante, wrote on Facebook that it was not yet certain whether insurers and lessors would accept the Ukrainian government’s financial assurances.
“We will see tomorrow,” he wrote.
The suspension of insurance cover would have effectively halted nearly all international air travel to and from Ukraine, including Ukrainian carriers, the vast majority of whose planes are leased from foreign companies.
Ukrainian airline SkyUp had to reroute a Feb. 12 Madeira-Kyiv flight to Chisinau, Moldova, as the plane’s Irish-registered lessor refused to let it enter Ukrainian airspace. SkyUp has since stopped selling tickets for flights between Feb. 14-16.
Dutch flag-carrier KLM also halted all flights to Ukraine on Feb. 12.
Al leaked U.S. intelligence report published by German newspaper Der Spiegel put the likely date of a further Russian invasion at Feb. 16, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Feb. 11 that a further incursion could come “at any time.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky downplayed reports of an imminent invasion on Feb. 12, saying that media reports were “only provoking panic and not helping us.”