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Friday, 23 July 2021

Lithuania bans all flights from crossing Belarus airspace

Lithuania's government said it was proposing to the EU that Belarusian airspace should be closed for all international flights by EU-based airlines

AFP , Monday 24 May 2021
Lithuania bans
The Ryanair plane with registration number SP-RSM, carrying opposition figure Raman Pratasevich which was traveling from Athens to Vilnius and was diverted to Minsk after a bomb threat, lands at the International Airport outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, May 23, 2021. AP
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Lithuania on Monday said it would not authorise any departing or arriving flights that cross Belarusian airspace, a day after Belarus forced a Vilnius-bound plane to land and arrested a journalist on board.

"Any flights to or from Lithuanian airports via Belarusian airspace are prohibited" from Tuesday, Transport Minister Marius Skuodis told a government meeting in the capital Vilnius.

Lithuania's government said it was proposing to the EU that Belarusian airspace should be closed for all international flights by EU-based airlines.

It also said it wanted a ban on Belarusian airlines flying to EU member states and sanctions against the national flag carrier Belavia, as well as "all people and organisations responsible" for Sunday's incident.

"Lithuania has the opportunity to take certain actions on its own, but the main response we hope for must be international," Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told a press conference after the meeting.

Regional carrier airBaltic, which is based in Latvia, earlier on Monday said it would avoid Belarusian airspace until further notice.

Lithuania and Latvia both share a border with Belarus.

In Poland, which also borders Belarus, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he too would urge the EU to ban all flights to and from Belarus.

He termed Sunday's incident "unprecedented state terrorism on the part of the Republic of Belarus".

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