Ukraine

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
There are two risk issues in Ukraine: arms fire in the UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIR in the east of the country, and disputed airspace in the UKFV/Simferopol FIR to the south. The FAA bans US operators from overflying the eastern part of the UKDV FIR. Canada says the UKDV and UKFV FIRS should both be avoided due to risk from heightened military activity and anti-aviation weaponry.

The primary risk is in the UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIR in the east of the country, with the misidentification of civil aircraft should hostilities escalate. There has been a large military build-up in this area recently, along with an increase in ceasefire violations. Essentially, similar conditions to those prior to the shoot-down of MH17 in 2014.

The secondary risk affects the UKFV/Simferopol FIR which is disputed airspace. (Ukraine:UKFV, Russia:URFV). In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. The ATC Center is in Simferopol, Crimea, and is now run by Russia. Russia claims the airspace. Ukraine refuses to recognise the change, and asks crews to talk to Ukrainian controllers in Dnipro/Odesa ACC instead of Simferopol ACC. So the risk here stems from aircraft potentially receiving confusing and conflicting air traffic control instructions from both Ukrainian and Russian ATC when operating over the region.

Major events:
Apr 2021: The US FAA published a Note warning of escalating tensions along the Ukraine/Russia border. Canada also publishes an airspace warning, advising operators to avoid the UKFV and UKDV FIRs.
Oct 2020: US operators now allowed to overfly Crimea again.
July 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flying over Ukraine at FL330 just west of the Russian border was mistakenly shot down after being misidentified as a hostile target by Russian-backed troops on the ground.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA FAA Information Note Russia/Ukraine - Escalating Border Tensions 13 Apr 2021 13 Apr 2022
Canada Notam CZQX H0806/21 31 Mar 2021 20 May 2021
France AIC 02/21 11 Feb 2021 Ongoing
USA SFAR 113 27 Oct 2020 27 Oct 2021
USA Notam A0029/20 26 Feb 2020 27 Oct 2020
Ukraine Notam A0920/19 25 Apr 2019 Ongoing
Russia Notam A0937/19 26 Feb 2019 22 May 2019
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 13 Oct 2017 Ongoing
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 20 Feb 2015 Ongoing
Source: USA
Issued: 13-Apr-21, valid until: 13 Apr 2022
Plain English: Escalating tensions in the east of Ukraine along the border with Russia. Large military buildup and recent increase in ceasefire violations. Several new reports of GPS jamming in the area, along with known surveillance of civil flights by military systems. Similar conditions to those prior to the shoot-down of MH17 in 2014. Should hostilities escalate, the airspace on both sides of the border could be exposed to potential weapons activity posing a risk to civil aircraft from misidentification or misperception.
Continued heightened tension along the Line of Contact (LOC) in eastern Ukraine and Ukraine’s border with Russia poses a potential risk to civil aviation from anti-aircraft capable weapon systems and possible electronic warfare activity. Jamming or other possible electronic warfare activity during the current period of heightened tension pose potential inadvertent safety-of-flight risks to civil aviation operations in the region.

On 08-09 April 2021, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine reported two unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) monitoring flights, operating out of Stepanivka, Ukraine, experienced global positioning systems (GPS) interference while operating along the LOC. The 09 April SMM UAS flight experienced GPS interference while operating north of Donetsk, near Hnativka, forcing it to execute an emergency landing. OSCE indicated increased GPS interference and jamming has been observed since 21 March 2021 along the LOC.

In late March, Russia deployed several thousand additional troops and equipment to the occupied Crimean Peninsula and along its border with Ukraine under the guise of a national exercise, raising regional tensions. The deployments included combined arms maneuver elements, artillery, and air defense assets. Since the occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has significantly expanded its military presence in the region with air, naval, and ground-based weapons systems, including advanced long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries.

The continued presence of additional Russian forces in Crimea and along Russia’s border with Ukraine, continued inflammatory rhetoric, and ongoing ceasefire violations have caused escalated tension in the region. Conditions in the region remain unpredictable and highly fluid, and there is a risk violence along the LOC may further increase and intensify. Should hostilities escalate, civil aviation operating in the region could be exposed to inadvertent risk. The Russian military, Russia-led forces, and the Ukrainian military have access to advanced air defense weapons systems with maximum altitude capabilities extending well above cruising altitudes for civil aircraft. In the event of intensified fighting, the airspace on both sides of the LOC or the Russia-Ukraine border could be exposed to potential weapons activity, as well as increased safety-of-flight concerns due to GPS interference. In July 2014, under similar conditions, Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine, equipped with radar-guided SAMs, shot down a commercial airliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). All 298 passengers and crew aboard MH17 perished.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 113 prohibits U.S. civil aviation operations in specified regions of the Dnipro (UKDV) Flight Information Region (FIR) from surface to unlimited, as described in the rule. Separately, Ukraine maintains a prohibited area over the Crimean Peninsula and adjacent Ukrainian territorial waters within the Simferopol FIR (UKFV). On 31 March 2021, Transport Canada issued a Notice-to-Airmen (NOTAM) advising Canadian operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada against entering the Simferopol (UKFV) and UKDV FIRs. The Canadian NOTAM also urged great caution when operating in the Kyiv (UKBV), Odesa (UKOV), and Lviv (UKLV) FIRs.
Source: Canada
Issued: 31-Mar-21, valid until: 20 May 2021
Plain English: Avoid the UKFV/Simferopol and UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIRs in the east of the country due to risk from heightened military activity and anti-aviation weaponry. Exercise caution across the rest of Ukraine's airspace.
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE VOLATILE SECURITY SITUATION IN UKRAINE. POTENTIAL RISK FM HEIGHTENED MIL ACT AND DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY IN THE CRIMEAN PENINSULA, AND THREAT POSED BY MISCALCULATION AND MISCOMMUNICATION. AIR OPR AND OWNERS OF ACFT REGISTERED IN CANADA ARE ADZ NOT TO ENTER THE SIMFEROPOL (UKFV) AND DNIPROPETROVSK (UKDV) FIRS AND TO EXER GREAT CAUTION IN THE KIEV (UKBV), ODESA (UKOV) AND LVIV (UKLV) FIRS. 31 MAR 22:15 2021 UNTIL 20 MAY 09:01 2021.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 02/21
Issued: 11-Feb-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Overflights of the UKFV and UKDV FIRs in the east of the country should only be planned over six Black Sea airways: M854, M856, M860, L851, M435, and M861.
From 22/10/2020 and until further notice, French air carriers and owners of aircraft registered in France are requested not to authorize their aircraft to penetrate into UKDV (DNIPROPETROVS’K) and UKFV (SIMFEROPOL) FIRs, except for routes segments M860 KUGOS - DIGAM, L851 KUGOS - ADINA, M854 SUMOL - RASIL, M856 RAKUR - DIGAM, M435 LAROM – RASIL and M861 RAKUR – BIRMA which are available for flight planning according to conditions published in Ukraine aeronautical information, and for which it is advisable to refer to the most current recommendations published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 113
Issued: 27-Oct-20, valid until: 27 Oct 2021
Plain English: This SFAR extends the ban on US operators overflying the eastern part of the UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIR for another year due to a continued threat of arms fire in the region. However, restrictions have now been completely lifted on overflights of the UKFV/Simferopol FIR, as the security situation has sufficiently improved there.
This action amends and extends the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) prohibiting certain flights in the specified areas of the Dnipropetrovsk Flight Information Region (FIR) (UKDV) by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. The FAA finds this action necessary to address hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations. However, due to changed conditions in Ukraine and the associated risks to U.S. civil aviation, this action does not extend the prohibition against certain flights in the specified areas of the Simferopol FIR (UKFV), which will expire on October 27, 2020. This action extends the expiration date of the prohibition against certain flights in the specified areas of the Dnipropetrovsk FIR (UKDV) from October 27, 2020, to October 27, 2021. Additionally, the FAA republishes the approval process and exemption information for this SFAR, consistent with other recently published flight prohibition SFARs, and makes minor administrative revisions.
Source: USA
Reference: Notam A0029/20
Issued: 26-Feb-20, valid until: 27 Oct 2020
Plain English: This is just a pointer Notam, directing people to read the SFAR which contains complete information about the US restrictions on Ukraine airspace.
A0029/20 (Issued for KICZ)
SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FLIGHT PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE SIMFEROPOL (UKFV) FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) AND DNIPROPETROVSK (UKDV) FIR.

14 CFR 91.1607 SPECIAL FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATION (SFAR) NO. 113 PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE SIMFEROPOL (UKFV) FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) AND DNIPROPETROVSK (UKDV) FIR WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER ON 19 OCT 2018 AND WAS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT: HTTPS://WWW.FAA.GOV/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/.

SFC - UNL, 26 FEB 12:30 2020 UNTIL 27 OCT 23:59 2020. CREATED: 26 FEB 12:33 2020
Source: Ukraine
Reference: Notam A0920/19
Issued: 25-Apr-19, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Ukraine asks aircraft within Dnipro, Odesa, and Simferopol FIRs to only speak to Ukrainian ATC - callsigns Dnipro Radar and Odesa Radar. (Comment: for Simferopol, Russia says only talk to Russian ATC - hence the problem)
A0920/19 (Issued for UKDV UKFV UKOV)
ALL AIRCRAFT CREWS PERFORMING FLIGHTS WITHIN SIMFEROPOL FIR AND UTA DNIPRO-SOUTH / UTA ODESA-SOUTH SHALL ONLY COMPLY WITH ATC CLEARANCES AND INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY DNIPRO ACC (CALL SIGN DNIPRO RADAR) OR ODESA ACC (CALL SIGN ODESA RADAR). AIRCRAFT CREWS SHALL NOT COMPLY WITH INSTRUCTIONS FROM ANY STATION USING OTHER CALL SIGN WHILE FLYING WITHIN SIMFEROPOL FIR OR UTA DNIPRO-SOUTH AND UTA ODESA-SOUTH. ALL AIRCRAFT CREWS SHALL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE INFORM ODESA RADAR OR DNIPRO RADAR ABOUT ANY INSTRUCTIONS OR INFORMATION THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE RECEIVED FROM ANY STATION USING OTHER CALL SIGN FOR THE SAME AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY. REF AIC A 02/18.
26 APR 00:00 2019 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 25 APR 16:50 2019
Source: Russia
Reference: Notam A0937/19
Issued: 26-Feb-19, valid until: 22 May 2019
Plain English: Russia declares iteself as the valid source of information for Simferopol FIR.
A0937/19 (Issued by URFV)
ALL NOTAM IN ALL SERIES CONCERNING SIMFEROPOL FIR, AERODROMES AND RADIO NAVIGATION AIDS LOCATED IN THE TERRAIN OF THE REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA ISSUED BY UKRAINE ARE NOT VALID. ATS WI SIMFEROPOL FIR BDRY PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AIP RUSSIA. ALL RADIO NAVIGATION AIDS ARE AVBL AND PROVIDE ATS WI SIMFEROPOL FIR BDRY AND AT SIMFEROPOL AD.
26 FEB 13:40 2019 UNTIL 22 MAY 23:59 2019 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 26 FEB 13:51 2019
Source: UK
Issued: 13-Oct-17, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should not enter UKDV/Dnipro or UKFV/Simferopol FIRs with the exception of airways L851, M856, M860, and M854.
Hazardous Situation in Ukraine

Potential risk to aviation overflying eastern Ukraine from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry.

Operators are advised not to enter the Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) and Simferopol (UKFV) FIRs, with the exception of Airways L851, M856, M860 and M854.
Source: UK
Issued: 20-Feb-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Possible conflicting ATC instructions due to disputed airspace in the Simferopol FIR
Service Provision in Ukraine

As a result of the unrest within the territory and airspace of Ukraine, there remains the potential for confusion over service provision in the Simferopol (UKFV), in particular over the High Seas portion of the airspace.

Capacity may also be impacted in this area while all remaining Ukrainian FIRS appear to be operating normally.