The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to announce limitations on flights to Belarus in the near future. Bloomberg notes that it will be symbolic, as air travel between the two countries has already been limited.
The U.S. intends to restrict flights to Belarus due to the forced landing of the Ryanair passenger plane, flying from Athens to Vilnius, in Minsk, reports Bloomberg, citing two sources. Roman Protasevich, former editor-in-chief of Telegram channel Nexta, was on board that airliner and was taken off the flight and detained.
The measure was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation along with the State Department, according to the agency.
Bloomberg notes that the measure will be symbolic since air travel between the two countries has already been limited. It is meant to show that Washington remains concerned about Protasiewicz’s detention.
The Ryanair incident provoked a harsh reaction from the international community. On May 29th the USA announced the suspension of the agreement on mutual flights with Belarus and recommended Americans to be “extremely cautious” while flying over the country.
The European Union also decided to close its airspace and airports to the Belarusian airlines. After the incident, Brussels introduced another package of sanctions against Minsk, and then Washington, London, and Ottawa joined this decision.
In Belarus, Protasiewicz is listed as a terrorist and is accused of organizing mass riots.