(Photo from Anadolu) 

LONDON – The British government closed its airspace to all Russian aircraft late Friday.

The closure to all Russian jets follows a similar ban by Moscow against UK aircraft and is intended to increase pressure on the Russian government following its invasion of Ukraine.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s actions are unlawful and anyone benefiting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not welcome here,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

“I’ve strengthened our ban in the UK so that no Russian private jet can fly in UK airspace, or touchdown – effective immediately,” he added.

On Friday, the government implemented further sanctions on the Kremlin targeting more banks, businesses, and politicians, sanctions they argue are the toughest yet.

There are growing calls from the international community to ban Russia from the SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) banking system, a move that would have a major effect on the Russian economy.

Russian forces early Friday were reported to have reached the city limits of Kyiv with Mayor Vitali Klitschko saying the city had gone into defense mode to resist a Russian onslaught that has already seen hundreds dead in multiple cities across the country.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out offensive against its western neighbor on four fronts.

The operation entered a third day Saturday and despite the UK government claims that Russia has failed to reach its first objective, Moscow appears intent on capturing Kyiv. (Anadolu)