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Sri Lanka detains Russian plane with nearly 200 people on board

Aeroflot, Russia's flagship carrier, suspended all international flights in March following tough Western sanctions over Moscow's attack on Ukraine, but resumed operations to Colombo in April.

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Colombo: A Russian-operated airplane was seized by Sri Lankan authorities on Thursday shortly before it was due to return to Moscow with nearly 200 people on board, airport officials said, according to Khaleej Times.

The Aeroflot Airbus A330, which had arrived in Colombo from Moscow earlier in the day, was prevented from returning following an order from Colombo Commercial Court, said an official for the Bandaranaike International Airport.

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Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier, suspended all international flights in March following tough Western sanctions over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, but resumed operations to Colombo in April.

Russia’s civil aviation body had “recommended” that Russian airlines operating rental planes registered in foreign countries cease flights abroad, to avoid the seizure of the planes in connection with the sanctions.

It was not immediately clear if the detention of flight SU289 was related to those sanctions.

“We are not aware of the reason, but we hear it is something to do with a commercial dispute.”

All passengers and crew disembarked from the aircraft and were accommodated in hotels, airport authorities said.

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