UK orders aircraft to avoid Belarus airspace, suspends Belavia

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: May 24, 2021, 08:26 PM(IST)

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Belarus on Sunday (Indian time) sent a fighter jet plane to divert a Lithuania-bound Rayanair passenger plane and arrested a 26-year-old opposition activist Roman Protasevich

British government on Monday said that it had instructed UK aircraft to avoid Belarus airspace. Additionally, it slapped a ban on Belarusian flag carrier Belavia. UK also summoned Belarusian ambassador over the issue of forced diversion of a passenger plane that culminated into arrest of a 26-year-old Belarusian activist who opposed country's President Alexander Lukashenko.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he had told the Civil Aviation Authority to issue instructions "in order to keep passengers safe". 

He also suspended the operating permit of Belavia, which flies daily London Gatwick to Minsk flights via Paris in a code-share with Air France.

Belarus on Sunday (Indian time) sent a fighter jet plane to divert a Lithuania-bound Rayanair passenger plane and arrested a 26-year-old opposition activist Roman Protasevich. This has raised tensions as Belarus drew a lot of flak from European countries as well as the USA.

Russia appears to have sided with Belarus as it said that Belarusian response to the plane incident was "reasonable"

Roman Protasevich (26), who was arrested by Belarus authorities on Sunday is a Belarusian journalist and activist.

Also Read | Russia finds Belarus approach to plane incident 'reasonable'

Together with co-founder Stepan Putilo he had until recently run the Nexta telegram channel that galvanised and directed huge protests against Lukashenko's disputed re-election to a sixth term in August 2020.

(With inputs from agencies)

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