Russia Bans French and Austrian Planes Because They Do Not Want to Fly Over Belarus
The diverting of the plane with Roman Protasevich to Belarus and his arrest on Sunday is now also leading to a riot between Europe and Russia.
Today, Russia has denied aircraft from Air France and Austrian Airlines access to its airspace. In the meantime, it would appear that the threatening email about an imminent attack was only sent on Sunday after the device had been diverted to Minsk. Protasevich was arrested after the forced landing.
As a first response, the European Union has called on airlines to stop flying over Belarus. Belavia is also no longer allowed to fly to the EU Belavia.
Belarusian leader Aleksander Lukashenko had reacted angrily to this, but today Russia is also involved in the riot. For example, Moscow refused Air France and Austrian Airlines planes into the airspace. Those flights to Moscow had to be diverted to avoid Belarusian airspace, but the Russian government did not approve the amended flight plan, and so those flights have been cancelled. More such incidents may follow.
The foreign ministers of the G7 – a group of important industrialized countries – are now working with other countries on targeted sanctions against the leaders of Belarus.
On Sunday, the passenger plane of the Irish company Ryanair with the critical Belarusian journalist and dissident Roman Protasevich on a flight between Greece and the Baltic state of Lithuania (both members of the EU) was distracted in Belarusian airspace and forced to land in the capital Minsk. Protasevich and his girlfriend were arrested immediately after landing.