The European Union has banned Belarus airlines from flying in EU airspace and from landing at any EU airport in response to Belarus ordering one of its fighter jets to force a Ryanair commercial airplane to land and then arrest political journalist Roman Pratasevich. The airplane had departed Greece and was heading to Lithuania when the incident occurred.
Roman Pratasevich is facing criminal charges with the death penalty for his publication of columns highly critical of Belarus’ leader, Aleksander Lukashenko. The EU’s new flight restrictions were announced one day after Pratasevich appeared on Belarus state television with bruising on his face and hands and declared his respect for Lukashenko.
The EU has called Belarus’ action a “hijacking” and a gross violation of human rights. The U.S. has announced it is reimposing sanctions against some state-owned businesses and developed more sanctions against members of Lukashenko’s regime.