On Sunday, the Belarusian authorities forced the plane on the road from Greece to Lithuania to make an emergency landing in Minsk in order to arrest journalists and opposition activist Raman Pratasevic. The European Union has already strongly condemned the event in a joint statement, and the leaders of member states took a similar step in the evening.
The summit called on “all airlines located in the European Union to avoid flying over Belarus.” At the same time, member states will be charged with the task of “taking the necessary measures to prohibit the flights of Belarusian airlines in the airspace of the European Union” as well as to prevent Belavia from landing at EU airports.
According to one of the European Union officials who participated in the evening meeting in Brussels, the agreement on the measures proposed by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, was very fast. “The response was strong as the Belarusian authorities put the safety of the flight and the passengers on board the plane at grave risk,” the official told reporters. According to him, a number of leaders indicated that the new sanctions should be aimed at weakening the Belarusian regime economically.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said before the meeting that new sanctions would be imposed on companies supporting the regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko or on entities operating in the aviation field, in addition to the people responsible for hijacking. .
The system has been punished multiple times
The European bloc imposed the first sanctions after the presidential elections last year in Belarus, due to which it did not recognize President Lukashenko as a manipulator. Several times the union has expanded its sanctions list last year, which includes, in addition to the authoritarian leader, dozens of representatives of the Belarusian regime, as well as many institutions and companies.
According to diplomats, the regime may feel more than the current ban on trips to the European Union or an asset freeze in the Union, and especially the punishment of other companies linked to Lukashenko. At the same time, European Union sources indicate that the sanctions list must be carefully prepared in order to withstand any lawsuits filed by the listed companies.