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EU puts new economic sanctions on Belarus over hijacked Ryanair flight

EU puts new economic sanctions on Belarus over hijacked Ryanair flight

Leaders of the European Union have reportedly imposed new economic sanctions on Belarus and punitive measures against the country’s national airline. The move comes as a protester taken from a ‘hijacked’ Ryanair flight was filmed on Belarus’ national television news, supposedly confessing to crimes against the state.

According to reliable sources, the 27 Heads of state and government of the European Union condemned the forceful landing of flight FR4978 in Minsk. The leaders called for the prompt release of Roman Protasevich, an opposition blogger, and Sofia Sapega, his Russian girlfriend.

Late on Monday, 24th May 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden also condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the operation for arresting Protasevich. Biden called it a direct provocation of international norms and called for his release. The President also welcomed EU sanctions, stating that the White House was contemplating appropriate alternatives.

In addition, Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser of Biden, previously spoke to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Belarusian Democratic Opposition Leader, regarding the dangerous and brazen grounding of Protasevich’s Ryanair flight. Sullivan further reassured support from the U.S. for human rights, democracy, and fundamental freedoms in the country.

As per reports, the EU’s statement regarding Protasevich’s release came shortly following the release of a video in which he refused reports that he had suffered health issues since his arrest in the Belarusian capital. Protasevich stated that he was confessing to provoking mass riots, a charge which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. The video clip, which looked to have been recorded by police, was the first appearance of Protasevich after his arrest.

It is to be noted that, as per the measures agreed by the leaders of the EU, a raft of economic sanctions will be applicable against those involved in the arrests. These will be in addition to the sanctions imposed months earlier on almost 60 Belarusian officials, that also include President Alexander Lukashenko and his son Victor.

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Nandita Bhardwaj

Nandita holds a management degree with specialization in marketing, and boasts of a short-term experience in the field of recruitment. Following her passion for writing however, she decided to pursue a career in the field of content development. Presently, Nandita pens down news pieces for, spanning the verticals of business, finance, and technology.