European Union leaders will talk about toughening their sanctions regime towards Belarus on Monday at their deliberate summit, after Minsk diverted a passenger flight and arrested an opposition activist.
European Council president Charles Michel mentioned: “I condemn within the strongest attainable phrases the pressured touchdown of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus, on 23 May 2021 and the reported detention by Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Protasevich.
“I name on Belarus authorities to right away launch the detained passenger and to totally assure his rights. EU leaders will talk about this unprecedented incident tomorrow throughout the European Council. The incident won’t stay with out penalties.”
Brussels determined in February to increase till 28 February 2022 the sanctions imposed on President Alexander Lukashenko and regime insiders concerned within the crackdown on protests towards Belarus’ 2020 presidential election.
Earlier this month, EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell warned that these measures might once more be tightened, if EU member states might agree, and on Sunday many reacted with fury to Belarus’ choice to divert the jet.
The aircraft, a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania, has been allowed to proceed to Vilnius, however Belarusian opposition activist Roman Protasevich is reported to have been taken off in Minsk and detained.
Monday’s EU summit in Brussels was pre-planned, however Michel’s spokesman Barend Leyts confirmed that the Belarus query would come up and “that attainable sanctions will likely be mentioned at this event”.