G7 Foreign Minister accuses Belarus of threatening further sanctions

Ottawa-G7 says it will step up efforts to make Belarus accountable for arresting dissident journalists on board intercepted airliners, but additional penalties have not yet been finalized. ..

In a statement Thursday, foreign ministers, along with representatives of the European Union, said they would impose “additional sanctions as needed”, accusing them of acting as an attack on press freedom and civil aviation regulations.

The EU has already moved to ban Belarusian airlines from above, advising EU airlines to avoid flights over Belarus and promising further sanctions.

On Sunday, Belarusian air traffic controllers changed Ryanair’s flight between Greece and Lithuania to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, alleging the threat of a bomb.

On the scene, authorities detained journalist Roman Protasevic and girlfriend Sophia Sapega.

The G7 calls for immediate action from the International Civil Aviation Organization Council, which convened an emergency meeting Thursday morning.

Transport Canada urged Belarus to release all Belarus detained individuals and urged them to cooperate with the council’s investigation.

“Canada is deeply concerned about the Belarusian government’s continued crackdown on journalists and peaceful protesters,” the ministry said in an email Thursday.

Transport Canada said Tuesday that it issued a warning about airspace safety “in response to the extraordinary over-measures by Belarus” and advised airlines not to fly over the country.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden “attacks on democracy and press freedom.”

On the same day, the Belarusian embassy in Ottawa posted on its website that it would cease operations from September 1 and announced that it would close. The statement did not mention international anger at the Sunday incident.

Canada announced sanctions on 55 Belarusian officials last year, but Global Affairs Canada said it was “damaged by widespread misconduct” in a “systematic crackdown campaign” and human rights abuses. After the election, he announced sanctions on 55 Belarusian officials under President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in the office since its inception. 1994.

After winning a landslide victory in the elections last August, he swore to take office for the sixth term. This has sparked national protests and global backlash against votes that are widely considered fraudulent.

The 26-year-old Protasevich is a member of a different group of Belarusian journalists and activists in exile in opposition to the president’s 27-year rule.

He co-founded the Telegram channel Nexta to help rally anti-Lukashenko demos in 2019 and put him on the wanted list of terrorism. “

As he was traveling from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania on Sunday afternoon on Ryanair Flight 4978, the plane turned around and made an emergency landing at Minsk Airport under air traffic control with the help of Belarusian fighters. did.