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Belarus leader tests EU's will to punish him

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


The measures are a response to the May 23 diversion of a Ryanair airliner to Minsk airport on the pretext of a bomb warning. When the plane landed, the Belarus authorities detained dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega. Pratasevich yesterday appeared in footage reminiscent of a 'proof of life' video -- in custody, bruised and admitting guilt.


  • Moscow will seek a careful balance between failing to support its ally and backing it so enthusiastically as to invite sanctions itself.
  • EU divisions will increase over the extent of sanctions and how far relations with Belarus should be uncoupled from tensions with Moscow.
  • The airline industry must decide whether this was a one-off incident or signals an era of more frequent abuses requiring new precautions.

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