UK bans Belarusian airline Belavia | abroad

The United Kingdom has banned Belarusian airline Belavia for the time being. The state also advises airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace. With this, the British authorities are responding to the stoppage of the Ryanair plane that was forced by Belarus on Sunday, and the arrest of a journalist on board.

On Sunday, an Irish low-cost airliner flying over Belarus was forced to land at the airport in the capital, Minsk. The plane was on its way from Greece to Lithuania. On board was an important opposition leader, journalist Roman Protasevich, who was brought down by the Belarusian authorities.

Also from the Baltic states and Sweden, among others, there were calls to avoid Belarusian airspace. Scandinavian airline SAS has already announced that it will follow the Swedish call. Its flights will be directed around Belarusian airspace. Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Eastern Europe, also flies its planes around Belarus.

“act of state terrorism”

Western leaders have called Belarus’ action an “act of state terrorism” and the European Union is expected to toughen sanctions against Belarus on Monday evening. Belarus authorities say they have not acted in violation of the rules. For its part, Russia says it was shocked by Western outrage over the incident.

European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol says it is working with airlines and air navigation services in countries neighboring Belarus to ensure that airlines can avoid Belarusian airspace if they wish.

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Sophie Baker

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