The uneasy situation in Egypt escalated again on Friday morning, as Reuters reports the Russians have banned EgyptAir, the state-run Egyptian airline, from flying into their country.
The announcement came from Rosavitatsia, the Russian aviation agency, which said the ban would go into effect on Saturday, November 14. Russia’s Sputnik news agency confirmed the notification with officials at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.
In the early days after the crash of a Russian Metrojet airliner in Sinai, both the Egyptian and Russian governments strenuously resisted conclusions that it was an act of terrorism. The Egyptians are still holding out against that conclusion – in fact, the current trend in Egyptian media is to portray theories of a terrorist bombing as a Western conspiracy to cripple Egypt’s tourism industry and weaken the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The Russians, however, increasingly behave as if they accept that a terrorist bomb was responsible. They have already banned Russian flights to Egypt, and this week President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, said the ban was likely to last for several months, because it would be impossible to evaluate and radically overhaul Egyptian airport security quickly.
“Egypt is one of the most popular destinations for Russians, especially in the winter when the sun and clear seas lure them away from gray, frigid weather,” the Associated Press noted, when relaying Ivanov’s statement. “Roughly three million Russian tourists came to Egypt in 2014, nearly a third of all visitors, with most heading to the resorts in the southern Sinai Peninsula or its opposite coast, far off from an insurgency being fought by Islamic militants against the army further north.”