TALLINN - As the Council of the European Union imposed a flight ban on Belarusian companies, the ban imposed by Estonia is no longer necessary and the government lifted it on Thursday.
As the sanctions imposed by the Council of the European Union came into force on Belarus on June 4, the legal basis for the imposition of a flight ban on Belarus in Estonia will change and the government will lift the Estonian flight ban, government spokespeople said.
This means that under the sanctions imposed by the EU Council, Belarusian airlines are not allowed to land in, take off from and fly over EU airspace throughout the EU, including Estonia. Therefore, a separate sanction by the Estonian government is no longer necessary.
The government sanction concerning the flight ban was imposed in connection with the forced diversion of a Ryanair passenger jet by Belarus to Minsk on May 23. A Belarusian military aircraft, MIG-29, and a bomb threat were used to force the passenger plane, which was en route from Athens to Vilnius and was carrying more than 100 passengers from 17 countries, including EU member states, to land. After the plane had landed in Minsk, the Belarus authorities detained Raman Pratasevich, an independent Belarusian journalist and co-creator of the Telegram channel NEXTA, who was on board the flight, as well as his companion.
EU heads of state and government strongly condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities and demanded the immediate release of the detainees. In addition to the flight ban, EU leaders agreed at the Council that the EU would rapidly prepare and impose additional sanctions on Belarusian officials and companies closely associated with the regime, and develop economic sanctions. The flight ban is part of this package.