Belarus on map

Sanctions on Belarus over Ryanair Diversion

Following the diversion of the Ryanair flight over Belarus, The European Union on Monday called on all E.U.- based airlines to stop flying over Belarus.

Moreover, EU countries will start banning Belarusian airlines from flying over the bloc’s airspace or landing in its airports.

In addition to EU countries, Ukraine has also suspended air travel with Belarus and ordered Ukrainian airlines and planes to avoid Belarusian airspace, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal announced on May 25.

Belarus forced the landing of a commercial Ryanair flight between Greece and Lithuania to Minsk. The Ryanair plane on Sunday is intercepted by a MiG-29 fighter jet under orders from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian authorities arrested Roman Protasevich who was on the flight. He is a 26-year-old journalist/blogger who became a dissident as a teenager and fled the country in 2019. He is a co-founder and a former editor of the NEXTA channel on the social media platform Telegram, which has become a popular conduit for Mr. Lukashenko’s foes to share information and organize demonstrations against the government.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that it was “utterly unacceptable to force @Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk.”

“The outrageous and illegal behaviour of the regime in Belarus will have consequences. Those responsible for the #Ryanair hijacking must be sanctioned. Journalist Roman Protasevich must be released immediately,” von der Leyen said in a later tweet.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that “this outlandish action by Lukashenko will have serious implications.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said it was “strongly concerned by the apparent forced landing of a Ryanair flight and its passengers, which could be in contravention of the Chicago Convention.” The convention governs rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety.

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