The refrain of condemnation and outrage from throughout the European Union swelled on Monday as leaders started discussing attainable penalties they might direct at Belarus for its forcing down of a civilian passenger jet.
The actions at their disposal are, nevertheless, considerably restricted, provided that there are already E.U. sanctions against Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the brutal and erratic chief of Belarus who has clung to energy regardless of enormous protests against his authorities, and dozens of his instant associates.
In a summit happening Monday night, European leaders have been anticipated to talk about including aviation-related sanctions.
The choices could embody designating Belarusian airspace unsafe for E.U. carriers, blocking flights from Belarus from touchdown in E.U. airports, and imposing sanctions against the nationwide flag provider, Belavia.
E.U. leaders have additionally referred to as for an investigation into the circumstances of the incident by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
As European Union officers thought of their choices, Lithuania — the unique vacation spot of the Ryanair flight and one of many international locations that shares a border with Belarus — stated it was banning flights over Belarus and strongly advising its residents not to journey there.
Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s minister for international affairs, stated that the federal government was responding to “unprecedented threats” from Belarus and that it could push for the European Union to impose additional measures.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, the place the flight originated, stated it was important that the European Union take decided motion, particularly in mild of the bloc’s frequent paralysis over foreign-affairs points, together with a latest failure to agree on an announcement concerning the Middle East battle.
“Our inability to reach a consensus on recent events in Israel and Gaza — where as a union we failed to present a unified stance — must not be repeated,” Mr. Mitsotakis informed The Financial Times. “The forcible grounding of a commercial passenger aircraft in order to illegally detain a political opponent and journalist is utterly reprehensible and an unacceptable act of aggression that cannot be allowed to stand.”
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the bloc’s govt arm, promised motion on the leaders’ summit.
“The outrageous and illegal behavior of the regime in Belarus will have consequences,” she stated in a tweet Sunday night, including that there should be sanctions for these “responsible for the #Ryanair hijacking.”