By Ron Howells • 25 May 2021 • 7:38
EU Leaders Slap New Sanctions On Belarus After 'Brazen' Hijack Scam. image: Wikicommons
EU Leaders Slap New Sanctions On Belarus After ‘Brazen’ Hijack Scam.
After convening an emergency meeting on Monday, May 25, EU leaders have agreed to apply new sanctions on Belarus, which includes a ban on the use of the bloc’s airspace and airports, after the ‘rogue state’ brazenly hijacked a Ryanair plane in order to arrest what [they] described as a dissident journalist onboard the passenger jet.
At a crunch meeting of the EU Council, the 27-nation bloc also demanded the immediate release of Roman Protasevich, well know to Belarus authorities as a staunch opposition blogger and prominent critic of dictator Alexander Lukashenko, and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who was also hauled off the civilian airliner on Sunday.
The EU leaders even decided to slap individual sanctions on officials linked to the operation and demanded the International Civil Aviation Organisation start an investigation into the unprecedented and ‘brazen move’.
Western outrage is growing over the forced diversion of a passenger jet en route to Lithuania from Greece to Minsk Airport by the Belarusian regime on the pretext of a bomb scare – all to arrest the 26-year-old journalist.
The leaders called on their council ‘to adopt the necessary measures to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports of flights operated by such airlines.’
The text was endorsed quickly by leaders determined to oppose a ‘strong reaction’ to the incident because of the ‘serious endangering of aviation safety and passengers on board by Belarusian authorities,’ according to an EU official with direct knowledge of the discussions who spoke anonymously.
Charles Michel, European Council president, said Minsk was playing ‘Russian roulette with the lives of innocent civilians and called the events ‘unacceptable, shocking and scandalous’.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that in her opinion the incident was a ‘hijacking’. She added: ‘This is an attack on democracy. This is an attack on freedom of expression. And this is an attack on European sovereignty. And this outrageous behaviour needs a strong answer.’
The Dutch arm of carrier Air France KLM has said it will temporarily halt flights over Belarus after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made an appeal to airlines in Europe to avoid Belarusian airspace.
Belarus Journalist Dragged Off Hijacked Plane Confesses To Crimes On Live Tv
A ‘so called’ dissident journalist who was dragged off a Ryanair passenger jet and arrested EU Leaders Slap New Sanctions On Belarus After ‘Brazen’ Hijack Scamby the Belarusian regime in an extraordinary ‘war-like’ hijacking on Sunday, May 23, appeared on state TV, Monday, May 24, ‘confessing’ to charges of organising protests and is cooperating with authorities.
“This is how Raman looks under physical and moral pressure. I demand the immediate release of Raman and all political prisoners,” a leader of Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Thiskanouskaya, wrote on Twitter in English, using the Belarusian spelling of his name.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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