European Union agrees to ban Belarusian airlines

Photo: © Anna Zvereva

The European Council has agreed to ban airlines from Belarus, as part of sanctions against the country’s government.

Furthermore, the council asks airlines in the Euopean Union to avoid using Belarusian airspace. The United Kingdom announced similar measures several hours earlier on Monday, also banning Belarus’ national carrier Belavia from flying to the UK.

This comes after a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced to land in Minsk by Belarusian authorities, which then arrested blogger and journalist Roman Protasevich, who was critical of the autocratic government and played a role in the democracy movement.

Leaders from across Europe have condemned Belarus’ actions, saying that the country violated international civil aviation agreements and knowingly endangered passengers and crew on board the aircraft.

The European Council strongly condemns the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus, on 23 May 2021 endangering aviation safety, and the detention by Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.“, states the European Council in a statement after the meeting on Monday evening.