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June 22, 2021 @ 07:57 +03:00
The Biden administration slapped a slew of sanctions against Belarus on Monday amid Western fury over the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight to arrest an opposition journalist. Last month, a passenger plane flying from Greece to Lithuania was suddenly diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus. The Ryanair flight was escorted to Minsk by a Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jet. Upon landing, authorities arrested opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.
The extraordinary diversion of a commercial airliner was described by some European Union leaders as a “hijacking.” The 27-nation bloc swiftly imposed sanctions against Belarus that included banning its airlines from using airspace and airports within the European Union. The State Department has now followed suit, imposing sanctions on 46 Belarusian officials for their involvement in the arrest of Protasevich. In addition, Treasury announced sanctions on 16 individuals and five entities.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a stalwart defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin, faced widespread calls for resignation following a disputed election that returned him to a sixth term. The almost daily protests rocked Belarus for nearly three months.
Biden administration slaps sanctions on Belarus after it forcibly diverted passenger jet to arrest opposition journalist, CNBC, Jun 22