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All civilian flights over Belarus must cease after ‘air piracy’: Senior UK lawmaker

Published: Updated:

The chairman of the British parliament’s foreign affairs committee called on Monday for all civilian airlines to cease flying over Belarus after what he said was an act of air piracy by President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus scrambled a fighter jet and flagged what turned out to be a false bomb alert to force a Ryanair plane to land on Sunday and then detained an opposition-minded journalist who was on board, drawing condemnation from Europe and the United States.

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“We need to stop any aircraft overflying Belarus,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat told Times Radio.

“This is an act of air-piracy, combined with hijacking, and eventually linked to kidnapping.”

Tugendhat said fresh sanctions should be imposed. “The next thing we need to do is we need to put very strict sanctions on the Lukashenko regime,” he said.

Read more:

Belarus opposition figure detained when Ryanair plane diverted to Minsk

Belarusian authorities scrambles fighter to force airliner to land, arrests opponent

NATO calls forced Ryanair landing a ‘serious and dangerous incident’