South Asia and Beyond

EU Sanctions Belarus For Plane ‘Hijack’

The European Union has banned Belarusian carriers from using the 27-nation bloc’s airspace and airports after President Alexander Lukashenko forced a plane to land and arrested a dissident onboard. “We won’t tolerate that one can try to play Russian roulette with the lives of innocent civilians,” EU Council chief Charles Michel said. The EU will also adopt further “targeted economic sanctions” to add to the 88 regime figures and seven companies already on a blacklist over a crackdown on opposition. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Minsk was taking an “absolutely reasonable approach” while spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: “We are shocked that the West calls the incident in Belarusian air space shocking”. U.S. President Biden has described the diversion of the Ryanair flight “outrageous” and “shameful.” Hamas has denied Belarusian authorities’ claim that the plane was at risk due to a bomb threat from the group. In an interview to StratNews Global before the plane was diverted, opposition pro-democracy leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya ( spoke about the “level of the Lukashenko regime’s violence, lawlessness”.