Poland bans its airspace to Belarusian aircraft.
A Polish government spokesman said, Wednesday, that Poland has decided to ban its airspace on Belarusian planes, as part of European sanctions. “The Cabinet voted in favor of banning entry into Polish airspace for aircraft used by companies from Belarus,” Piotr Muller said on Twitter. Poland shares a long border with Belarus, so this ban is expected to affect the trips of Belarusian companies, including the national carrier Belavia, to Western Europe.
On Wednesday, a Belarusian plane flying from Minsk to Barcelona was spotted on flight tracking sites circling around the Polish border for several minutes. Polish authorities said they had refused the plane into its airspace because France had said it would not allow it to enter French airspace after that. But another flight from Minsk to Warsaw was allowed to land.
A spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, Anatoly Glaz, said that France’s decision not to allow the plane to fly over France amounts to “air piracy.” The European Union adopted the first sanctions against Belarus on Monday evening, closed its airspace to aircraft from that country, and recommended all airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace, a call that was widely followed.
Earlier Wednesday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that changing the plane’s course and then arresting one of the opponents on board on Sunday was legal, before accusing the West of wanting to “strangle” his country.