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France calls for “strong” sanctions against Belarus

Due to the incident with the Ryanair plane, new sanctions should be imposed against Belarus, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

On Monday, the French minister held talks with former candidate for the post of president of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, confirming in a conversation with her the “determination” of Paris “to act so that there is a unified and firm response from European countries in accordance with their position since the beginning of the Belarusian crisis.”

According to the French Foreign Minister, “ this response should now include strong additional sanctions against the Belarusian regime.” These measures are the subject of discussions at the EU summit, which began in Brussels.

Le Drian called the incident with the plane a violation of international aviation security and called for the immediate release of Roman Protasevich, Sofya Sapieha, “as well as political prisoners arbitrarily arrested and detained in Belarus.” He noted that the plane was mainly occupied by EU citizens. According to Le Drian, there was another “ attack on the rights of the Belarusian people as part of the blind repression carried out by the regime.”

On Sunday, a Ryanair flight en route from Athens to Vilnius made an emergency landing in Minsk after a report of mining. The information was not confirmed, but the founder of the extremist opposition Telegram channel Roman Protasevich was on board, and he was detained.

In the European Parliament, Belarus was accused of “state terrorism”. Paris does not rule out the closure of the airspace over the territory of Belarus for EU aircraft.

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