Pressure is intensifying on Belarus. The German air transport group Lufthansa announced on Monday “to suspend its operations” in the airspace of this Russian-speaking country after the hijacking of a plane carrying an opponent of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.
“Due to the dynamics of the current situation, we are suspending operations in Belarusian airspace for the moment,” the company said in a statement sent to AFP.
Several European capitals and airlines have already announced that they are blacklisting Belarusian airspace, under increasing pressure for intercepting a commercial flight on Sunday aboard a 26-year-old opposition journalist, Roman Protassevich.
Just before an EU summit Monday evening and Tuesday where there will be a question of possible sanctions against Minsk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel estimated that the reasons cited by Belarus were “not credible”. Germany calls for the immediate release of the dissident who was traveling in this plane making the connection between Athens and Vilnius.
On Monday, a Lufthansa flight between Minsk and Frankfurt was temporarily immobilized in the Belarusian capital after a “security alert” received by local authorities. After checks of the aircraft, luggage and travelers, the alert was lifted and the flight was able to leave Minsk late.