The European Union is considering shunning Belarus’s airspace and banning national carrier Belavia from its airports after Belarusian authorities scrambled a warplane and forced a Ryanair jetliner to land in Minsk to arrest a dissident.
EU leaders strongly condemned Belarus over Sunday’s incident, in which a flight from Greece to Lithuania was diverted and Roman Protasevich,an opposition-minded journalist who was on board the plane, was detained.
Three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – said Belarusian airspace should be declared “unsafe” and that the 27-nation EU should close its airspace to Belarusian flights. Poland wants to suspend all flights between EU and Belarus until Protasevich walks free.
airBaltic, became the first to announce it would no longer use Belarusian air space, while France and Ireland said air traffic restrictions could be part of the EU’s response.