The German airline Lufthansa has announced that it will not fly over Belarusian airspace after forcing a Ryanair plane to land on the weekend and arresting a Belarusian opposition journalist.
The airline announced that flights to Moscow and other places will have to be implemented through alternative routes. It has not yet been decided whether to allow the scheduled flight from Frankfurt to Minsk tomorrow. Yesterday, boarding of Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt was stopped in Minsk, and all passengers were subject to security checks. The flight to Frankfurt was delayed by two hours to its destination.
According to European aviation authorities, Eurocontrol has 339 planes to and from Europe via Belarus every day.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg believed that the forced landing of a passenger plane in Minsk was a national abduction and called for an urgent international investigation and the release of opposition journalist Roman Protašević.
Stoltenberg said in a video welcoming EU sanctions against Belarus: “This is a kidnapping of countries, showing how the Minsk regime is attacking basic democratic rights and stifling freedom of speech and independent media.”
The NATO leader said: “An urgent international investigation must be conducted. Journalist Roman Protašević and his companion Sofia Sapega must be released immediately.”
After meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Kaha Callas, Stoltenberg said that the forced landing of a passenger plane is dangerous and unacceptable. NATO members will meet later today to discuss the case.