The ambassadors of the European Union approved the decision to impose sanctions against citizens and organizations involved in the forced landing of the Ryanair aircraft in Minsk. Radio Svoboda correspondent Rikard Jozwiak announced this on his Twitter.
“EU ambassadors just approved the visa bans and asset freezes on 78 people & 7 entities responsible for the crackdown in Belarus and the forced takedown of the Ryanair flight on 23 May. expected in the EU official journal on 21 May,” the statement says.
As it was reported, on May 23, the founder of the largest opposition telegram channel of Belarus NEXTA, journalist Roman Protasevich, was detained in Minsk. The plane with Roman Protasevich on board flew from Athens to Vilnius. Suddenly, the plane gave a distress signal, changed course, and made an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. The emergency landing was caused by a mining signal.
The EU stated that the plane of Ryanair Company was forced to land at Minsk Airport due to the actions of the Belarusian military aircraft. CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary stated that the forcible landing of Athens-Vilnius flight in Belarus was highjacking backed by the state.
Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen threatened with sanctions the Belarusian officials responsible for the incident with the plane.
The U.S. and a number of the EU countries demand to stop the flights over Belarus, including the flights to the country itself.
Ukraine also closed its airspace for Belarusian planes on May 29.