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Flight ban to Belarus not yet in effect

a view shows an information board during a check in for a flight of belavia belarusian airlines to minsk at boryspil international airport

Flights between Larnaca and Minsk are continuing because the EU leaders’ decision to ban Belarusian airlines from using EU airspace or airports has not kicked in yet, sources said on Wednesday.

Belarus’ national air carrier, Belavia, is still flying between Minsk and Larnaca this week, despite the call by EU leaders on Monday to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports of flights operated by such airlines. They also urged carriers to avoid flying over Belarus.

The Cyprus Mail has learned that the EU leaders’ decision was at political level and is not yet binding, because it needs to be legally formalised first. Sources told the Cyprus Mail this could take a few days.

Some EU members, however, have already imposed flight bans over their airspace, which according to the same sources, is based on national decisions.

The EU call followed the forced landing in Minsk on Sunday by Belarusian authorities of a Ryanair plane operating a flight between Athens and Vilnius, over what turned out to be a false bomb alert. After the plane landed in Minsk, Belarusian authorities arrested journalist Roman Protasevich, a Belarus national, who was among the passengers, on extremism charges.

Lithuania was the first to suspend Belavia’s flights, on Tuesday. Belavia has said it has also been banned from flying to Latvia, France, Sweden, Britain, Finland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine.


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