United Kingdom bans Belarusian airline Belavia. Foreign

The United Kingdom has banned Belarusian airline Belavia for the time being. The country also advises airlines to avoid Belarus airspace. Simultaneously, British officials are reacting to the arrest of a journalist aboard a Ryanair plane forced by Belarus on Sunday.

On Sunday, an Irish low-cost plane flying over Belarus was forced to land at an airport in the capital, Minsk. The plane was going from Greece to Lithuania. An important opposition leader on board was journalist Roman Protasevich, who was ousted by the Belarusian authorities.

Also there have been calls from the Baltic states and Sweden to avoid, among others, Belarus airspace. Scandinavian airline SAS has already announced that it will follow the Swedish call. Its flights will be directed around Belarusian airspace. Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline Wizz Air also flies its planes around Belarus.

“Act of State Terrorism”

Western leaders called Belarus’ action an “act of state terrorism” and the European Union is expected to tighten sanctions against Belarus on Monday evening. Belarus officials say they did not take action against the rules. Russia, for its part, says it is shocked by Western outrage over the incident.

European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol says it is working with airlines and air navigation services in neighboring Belarus to ensure that airlines can avoid Belarusian airspace if they so desire.

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