Immediate and severe were the sanctions decided by the European Union against Belarus after the “state hijacking”!
According to the text of the conclusions, the European Council “unequivocally condemns the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus, on 23 May 2021, endangering aviation security and detaining Belarusian authorities journalist Roman Pratasevic and Sofia Sapega».
More specifically, the European Council:
- Demands the immediate release of Roman Pratasevic and Sofia Sapega and the guarantee of their freedom
- Calls on the International Civil Aviation Organization to immediately investigate the unprecedented and unacceptable incident
- Calls on the Council to adopt lists of persons and bodies as soon as possible on the basis of the relevant sanctions
- Calls on the Council to adopt the necessary measures to prohibit EU airspace flights by Belarusian airlines and to prevent access to EU airports for flights operated by these airlines.
Politico, commenting on the text of the EU conclusions, described it as a quick and dynamic response to Sunday’s incident, which was denounced as “hijacking” and “state terrorism”, but clarified that the real extent of the EU response would not be known until officials, diplomats and lawyers consider the details of the sanctions, which must be drawn up to meet the legal challenges.
Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for further sanctions against Belarus officials and a ban on flights from its airspace. He called the actions of the Belarusian authorities “unprecedented” and said their explanations were “completely unreliable”.