It is time for Brussels to learn how to take measures which are genuinely made for the safety of citizens. Moscow reacted strongly on Friday to the European Union’s decision to ask its airlines to bypass Belarus, accusing Minsk of hijacking a Ryanair flight to arrest an opponent. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, criticized behavior “irresponsible endangering the safety of passengers”. According to her, the closure of “routes of hundreds of flights (…) creates colossal problems for citizens”.
EU countries have in fact asked European airlines on Monday evening to bypass Belarusian airspace, after the hijacking of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius on the pretext of a bomb threat to arrest an opponent.
Moscow considers sanctions premature
Russia, for its part, believes that its Belarusian ally, who claims to have acted in good faith, has endeavored to be transparent and that European sanctions are premature as long as no investigation has reached its conclusion. In recent days, several flights from European companies to Moscow have been canceled as Russia did not approve changes to flight plans bypassing Belarus.
Vladimir Poutine is to receive in Sochi, at the end of the afternoon, his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, a usual and planned meeting for a long time. The agenda does not seem to have been upset by the affair of the diverted flight, the two men planning above all to talk about economic integration.