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EU mulls shunning Belarusian airspace over pressured touchdown

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The European Union is contemplating shunning Belarus’s airspace and banning nationwide provider Belavia from EU airports after Belarusian authorities scrambled a warplane and compelled a Ryanair jetliner to land in Minsk.

Western leaders reached for the strongest language to sentence Sunday’s incident, through which a Belarusian warplane intercepted a flight between Greece and Lithuania and compelled it down in Minsk, the place a dissident journalist was arrested. Countries have referred to as for the discharge of 26-year-old Roman Protasevich.

EU leaders will talk about tightening sanctions already in place in opposition to Minsk at a summit on Monday night, and will additionally limit floor transit hyperlinks between Belarus and the bloc.

“Together with international partners, we will work to close the airspace of Belarus to international flights,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte mentioned on Monday.

France’s Europe Minister, Clement Beaune, referred to as the aircraft’s pressured diversion “an act of state piracy that cannot be left unpunished”, and proposed harder sanctions in opposition to Belarus. “We are working on a package of measures that go beyond sanctions against individuals” and can also droop floor transit hyperlinks with the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron’s workplace mentioned.

The EU has blacklisted 88 people and 7 corporations accused of “repression and intimidation” following protests in opposition to President Aleksander Lukashenko’s victory in election final 12 months, which opponents say was rigged. The sanctions additionally embody a ban on journey to the EU for Mr. Lukashenko and his son.

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