December 5, 2022

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After the forced landing in Minsk: Mass threatens Lukashenko with sanctions

Status: 27.05.2021 12:11 pm.

EU foreign ministers are pushing for a forced landing of a passenger plane in Minsk today. Foreign Minister Mass clarified: The time for small sanctions is over. Belarusian airline Belavia has announced it will suspend flights to Germany.

The forcible landing of a passenger plane in Minsk and the arrest of a Belarusian blogger caused international outrage and horror. EU foreign ministers have been discussing the appropriate response to the incident at a meeting in Lisbon since this morning.

At the beginning of the meeting, Federal Foreign Minister Haiko Mass threatened Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with a clear reaction from the European Union. Lukashenko did not give up now, “one should consider that this will only be the beginning of the blockade of a large and long barrier,” Mass said. Lukashenko’s behavior is “unacceptable” and the EU is not satisfied with small sanctions. Instead, the aim is to “impose sanctions on the economic structure and tariff transactions in Belarus so that it has an impact”.

For the fourth approval package, the raw material potassium salt is in the view of the Foreign Ministers. It is one of the most important export items in the country. Further sanctions against Belarus will also affect Western companies trading there. “You have to accept it,” said Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Aselborne. It is about plundering mockery that the EU cannot tolerate. Economic interests should take second place.

Mass demands release of political prisoners

Mass called on Lukashenko to immediately release more than 400 political prisoners in Belarus. The Social Democrat politician insisted that the time for the EU to prepare for dialogue was now over. He also wanted to talk to Russia about Belarus. Everyone knows that without Russia Lukashenko would have no future in Belarus, Mass added.

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So for foreign ministers it will also be about the following questions: What does the Russian government know in advance about the projects in Minsk? How can the EU increase pressure on Belarus without realizing that Moscow is under attack? Because the Kremlin has already described the European reaction as excessive and incomprehensible.

The European Union is clearly demanding that Moscow distance itself from Belarus. At the same time, it wants to avoid increasing dependencies through sanctions. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabriel Landsbergis has warned against a close alliance between Moscow and Minsk. Lukashenko has been preparing to join his country in Russia for a long time. It can be compared to the large-scale annexation of the Crimea.

On the way from Greece to Lithuania, Belarus diverted a Ryanair flight to Minsk on Sunday. The government cited the bomb threat. However, the explosive device was not found. Deported anti-government activist and blogger Roman Protashevich was aboard the ship when he was arrested along with his girlfriend after landing.

Altmeyer for sanctions against Belarus

Prior to the massacre, Federal Economy Minister Peter Altmeyer had argued that the EU should tighten sanctions against Belarus. “We have already decided on sanctions and will definitely expand them,” the CDU politician said. Deutschlandfunk. It is also about how certain questions in economic exchange should be controlled. However, it is important that the EU work together. The actions of the Belarusian leadership are unheard of, defamatory, criminal and against international law.

EU Foreign Representative Joseph Borrell called on member states to expedite the decision on planned sanctions against Belarus. Borel told the AFP news agency that the European Union “must take steps to make Lukashenko feel his weight.” The EU must now show that it is ready to “use the language of power”. Decisions are yet to be made at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in Lisbon.

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Belavia has suspended flights to Germany

Enforcement has begun on already decided penal measures, such as an excessive flight and landing ban for Belarusian airline Belarus. According to the airline, the first eight countries will not be allowed to fly today. The ban will initially apply until October 30. The European Union has already advised its own aircraft to avoid Belarus and its airspace for security reasons.

In addition, the airline announced that it would suspend all flights to seven EU countries, including Germany, for its part. Belavia announced that Frankfurt, Berlin, Hanover and Munich would no longer be offered immediately. Poland, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium are also affected. Flights are initially suspended until the end of October. Tickets can be returned or exchanged.

With information from Michael Schneider of ARD-Studio Brussels currently in Lisbon