EU bans overflight of its territory by Belarus airlines

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has slapped a ban on the overflight of the 27-nation bloc’s airspace and the use of its airports by Belarus airlines, in the wake of Minsk’s decision to divert a Ryanair passenger plane to arrest a dissident journalist last month.

EU headquarters said in a statement Friday that member countries will “be required to deny permission to land in, take off from or overfly their territories to any aircraft operated by Belarusian air carriers, including as a marketing carrier.”

Belarus’ international isolation has deepened since the May 23 incident, in which Belarusian flight controllers told the crew of a Ryanair jet of an alleged bomb threat. They also instructed them to land in Minsk, where journalist Raman Pratasevich was pulled off the plane by authorities.

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