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Two planes are blocking flights to Moscow as the EU discusses Belarus’s sanctions

Two European planes have suspended flights to Moscow after Russian officials failed to approve new routes that block Belarus airport access in response to Minsk’s intervention.

Air France and Austrian Airlines have tried to fly Belarus airlines as EU countries ask for their flights. avoid space. The EU took action in response to the Ryanair 4978 airstrike by Belarusian authorities on Sunday to arrest the opposition.

Air France and Austrian Airlines said Russian airlines did not approve the new flights, which forced the flight from Paris to Moscow on Wednesday, and from Vienna to Moscow on Thursday. The Air France flight to Russia on Friday was still awaiting approval to use a new route to prevent Belarus.

“What the Russians are doing does not make sense to us,” Austria’s foreign ministry told Reuters on Thursday.

Several European carriers, including KLM and British Airways flights, have been allowed to fly to Russia using new routes, however. The Kremlin responded and sent questions to the pilots.

Airline operators worried about politics after a Ryanair flight left Athens for Vilnius was forced to travel to Minsk because of a bomb that they say is threatening. Two of the 126 passengers, human rights activist Roman Protasevich and his Russian counterpart, were arrested when the plane arrived. Three other people remained in Minsk.

However, allegations that they are threatening to bomb the Belarusian authorities were sent in an email after the plane was diverted, according to Proton Technologies’ email providers. “We are unable to find or confirm the contents of the message. However… We can confirm that the requested information was sent after the flight was changed,” the company said.

Ryanair has described coercion as “aircraft theft”, and the UK and EU have urged their airlines to avoid Belarusian airport checkpoints, shut down government carriers from their airports, and vowed to impose new economic sanctions on the government. The US has called for the immediate release of Protasevich and his allies.

Russia became known for supporting Minsk, calling for EU action “hysteric”. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko are due to meet in Russia on Friday.

Willie Walsh, executive director of the International Air Transport Association, said it was “disturbing” to see a commercial aircraft being stranded “for good reason”.

“I would like to know that this is not an example. It is important that we build on the common and common ground of conflict. . . to ensure that we do not see the recurrence of the practice, “he told a news conference Wednesday.

While avoiding Belarusian airports increases distance and fuel on some trips to eastern Europe, flights have followed. However, any crisis with Russia could be devastating, depending on its size.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN’s international air travel agency, on Thursday announced an investigation into Ryanair’s activities, as well as whether Belarus’s actions violated international law.

Salvatore Sciacchitano, president of the ICAO council, said: “The council has decided that all necessary information should be legally established through an ICAO audit conducted by the ICAO secretariat.”

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the EU have held talks for the first time on Thursday on sanctions against Belarus, the country’s economic interests above.

The European Union (EU) has described Belarus’ economic situation and economic situation “seriously”, Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, told reporters ahead of a summit in Lisbon.

“The hijacking of the plane and the arrest of the two passengers is completely unacceptable, and we will begin to discuss the establishment of corporate and economic units,” said Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief.

Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, said potash – the most important ingredient in fertilizer – was the “key word” because Belarus is one of the world’s largest exporters. “I think it would hurt Lukashenko a lot if we could do something in the area,” he said.

Member states want to implement the new rules at a meeting of foreign ministers on June 21, ambassadors said.

Additional reports of Max Seddon in Moscow

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