Belarus faces sanctions backlash over jetliner 'state piracy':

25th May,2021


Belarus faces sanctions backlash over jetliner 'state piracy':

On Monday, Western powers prepared to slap sanctions on Belarus and break off its aviation ties, enraged by the country's use of a warplane to seize a Ryanair flight and detain a dissident journalist, which one official called "state piracy." Roman Protasevich, a jailed activist, said in a video released online that he was in good health and that he was being held in a pre-trial holding centre in Minsk. He also admitted to playing a part in organising mass protests in the capital last year. He was dressed in a black sweatshirt and clasped his hands closely in front of him in the Telegram frame. His supporters quickly rejected the remarks, claiming they were made under duress. Pawel Jablonski, a Polish deputy foreign minister, told private broadcaster TVN24 that his government had received word from Mr. Protasevich's mother that he was in ill health, but gave no further information. Mr. Protasevich is being held in custody, according to Belarus' interior ministry, and has not complained of illness. According to a joint statement issued by European Union leaders meeting in Brussels, Belarusian airlines should be barred from the 27-nation bloc's airspace, and EU-based carriers should stop flying over the former Soviet republic. They also decided to expand the number of Belarusians who have already been sanctioned, and they demanded that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) prosecute Belarus for pressuring a Ryanair plane to land in Minsk on a Greece-Lithuania flight on Sunday.