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EU sanctions Belarus over plane diversion

Raman Pratasevich in Minsk, Belarus, in November 2019 Associated Press/ Euroradio

EU sanctions Belarus over plane diversion

The European Union on Monday banned Belarusian airlines from using the airspace and airports of member nations after Belarus diverted a passenger flight Sunday to detain an opposition activist. The EU leaders demanded the release of 26-year-old Raman Pratasevich and his Russian girlfriend, who was also taken off the flight. The bloc also imposed sanctions on officials involved in the arrest.

Any update on Pratasevich? Belarusian state television on Monday night broadcast a video where he spoke rapidly and said he was in satisfactory health. He added that authorities treated him “maximally correct and according to law.” Pratasevich co-founded the Telegram channel Nexta, which helped organize demonstrations against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. President Joe Biden welcomed the EU’s response and said his team was reviewing “appropriate options.”

Dig deeper: Read my earlier report on the diversion in The Sift.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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