EU sanctions Belarus after Ryanair highjack
EU leaders have decided to ban Belarusian airlines from European skies after the ‘hijacking’ to arrest a journalist on Sunday.
All 27 leaders met in Brussels to discuss the next step forward. They also told EU airlines not to fly over Belarus and promised further economic sanctions.
Roman Protasevich, 26, was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania which was rerouted over a supposed bomb threat.
The West has accused Belarus of ‘hijacking’ the Ryanair plane.
Belarus has said that a false bomb threat prompted the plane to be diverted and land in Minks- where they arrested the journalist on board. Belarus blame the Palestinian group Hamas for the bomb threat, a claim they deny.
Belarus: What you need to know
Where is Belarus? To the east is its ally Russia, Ukraine is to the south, The North and west lie Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – (EU and Nato members).
The population stands at 9.5 million.
Why does it matter? Belarus is caught in a rivalry between the West and Russia.
President Lukashenko has been in power for 27 years and is nicknamed “Europe’s last dictator.”
What’s going on in Belarus? A huge opposition movement with protesters and activists demanding new, democratic leadership and economic reform.
The opposition movement and Western governments say Mr Lukashenko rigged the 9 August election – he officially won by a landslide.
There has been a huge crackdown on street protests and opposition leaders have been sent to prison or into exile.
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