Countries condemn Belarus

The European Union worked on new sanctions and commercial jets avoided the airspace as worldwide condemnation grows over the actions of President Alexander Lukashenko. A journalist who was arrested was seen in a brief video clip, sparking concerns about his welfare.


World News

May 26, 2021 - 9:34 AM

Natalia and Dmitry Protasevich are photographed after an interview with AFP in Wroclaw, Poland on May 25, 2021. From their new home in Poland, the parents of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich have been in anguish ever since he was arrested after his Ryanair flight was diverted and forced to land. (Jaap Arriens/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belarus’ isolation deepened Tuesday as commercial jets avoided its airspace, the European Union worked up new sanctions, and officials expressed concern for the welfare of an opposition journalist who was arrested after being pulled off a plane that was diverted to Minsk in what the West called a state-sponsored hijacking.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko delivers a speech during a rally held to support him in central Minsk, on Aug. 16, 2020. (Siarhei Leskiec/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

The dramatic developments put a spotlight on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s iron-fisted rule and suppression of dissent — but it was not clear what effect more sanctions or other measures would have.

“Additional sanctions? Will this be sufficient? I absolutely can’t say today,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. But, he added: “The unacceptable character of what happened … justifies them.”

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