President Lukashenko / REUTERS

The European Union will in June 2021 approve the fourth package of sanctions against Belarus, including over the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk.

This was announced by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty journalist Rikard Jozwiak on Twitter.

"[T]he 4th sanctions package on #Belarus should be adopted in June. [L]istings of [people] responsible for the forced landing of the #Ryanair flight should also be done then," he said.

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According to him, sectoral sanctions will probably "take a bit longer but the aim to have it done before the EU summer break in August."

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Sanctions against Belarus

  • On May 25, 2021, heads of state and government of the European Union member states agreed at an EU summit to prepare new sanctions against Belarus over a forced landing of a Ryanair aircraft in Minsk.
  • On October 2, 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on 40 Belarusian officials, subsequently, it added 14 more names, as well as Alexander Lukashenko, to the sanctions list on November 6, 2020. The decision to impose restrictive measures was taken over the suppression of peaceful protests and falsification of the presidential election results.
  • On December 17, 2020, the EU Council introduced the third package of sanctions against 29 people and seven companies from Belarus. The restrictive measures included an entry ban and asset freeze. What is more, citizens from EU member states are prohibited from providing financial assistance to all individuals and legal entities from Belarus who are under the sanctions.

Forced landing of Ryanair plane

  • On May 23, 2021, Belarus scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to forcedly land a Ryanair plane in Minsk. The plane was heading from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. Co-founder of Telegram's opposition channel NEXTA, Roman Protasevich, was on board the plane.
  • The plane was diverted to Minsk at the command of Belarusian air traffic controllers over a possible bomb threat, despite the fact that the distance to Vilnius was much shorter. After the plane landed, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained. Protasevich faces the death penalty in Belarus.
  • The circumstances of the forced landing of the Ryanair airline in Minsk will be investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).