Lukashenko Hijacks an EU Airline. What is Europe’s Response?

European countries imposed sanctions on Belarus on Monday, banning its state airline from flying to Europe, in an effort to punish President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime for pressuring a Ryanair passenger flight to land in the country in order to arrest a prominent dissident on board.

EU will impose sanctions on Belarus for disrupting a regular Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania with the Belarusian dissident on board. Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, actively searches out the oppositionist leaders that speak out against his regime.

The international distress is amplifying with Belarus accused of using a bogus bomb threat to divert the airliner to Minsk in order to arrest Roman Protasevich, a blogger who was a key figure in last year’s mass protests against Lukashenko.

It’s been referred to as “air piracy” and “state-sponsored hijacking” in the United States and Europe.

The 27 leaders of the EU decided to ban all flights connecting Belarus with the rest of Europe and have drafted a set of individual sanctions to curb the Belarusian government’s unlawful behavior. The EU leaders have also requested to free Protasevich and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, immediately.

Belarus has been receiving an array of sanctions in the past, so this one is another add-on by the European countries that would like to display their anger about Lukashenko practically “pirating” a European airline.

Some fear that the Belarussian blogger and opposition activist may face the strictest penalty that Belarus processes – the death sentence.