Belarus accused France of “air piracy” on Wednesday for denying its airspace to a Belarusian plane on a Minsk-Barcelona route, forcing it to turn around. “It is an absolutely scandalous fact and an immoral act. Honestly, it’s practically air piracy, ”Belarusian diplomacy spokesman Anatoly Glaz said in a statement.
This incident comes three days after the diversion to Minsk of an airliner flying from Athens to Vilnius on board which were a Belarusian opponent and his partner who were arrested, causing an avalanche of Western condemnations and new sanctions from the EU .
“An oral order from the French Prime Minister”
On Wednesday, a Minsk-Barcelona flight from the national company Belavia had to turn around a few minutes after taking off, just before entering Polish airspace. According to Belavia, “three minutes before takeoff, the French aeronautical authorities deactivated the flight plan without notifying the airline” which learned about it from Polish air traffic controllers. French flight dispatchers “invoked an oral order from the French Prime Minister,” Belavia added in a statement.
“The cold disregard for the interests of the people on board, their safety, is simply astounding”, added Anatoli Glaz, assuring that most of the passengers were citizens of the European Union and denouncing “a direct violation of the norms of the law international “.
In retaliation for the arrest of Belarusian opponent Roman Protassevich, the European Union made the decision on Monday to close its airspace in Belarus, but the final decision rests with EU countries. Poland banned its airspace from Belarusian planes on Wednesday evening.
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