After the decisions, the questions. The European Union reacted firmly, Monday, May 24, to the embezzlement orchestrated by the Belarusian authorities of the Boeing of Ryanair providing the Athens-Vilnius route in order to seize the opponent Roman Protassevich, now imprisoned in Minsk, like his friend Sofia Sapega. In the aftermath of the announcement of a series of restrictive measures against President Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorial regime, the Twenty-Seven are however wondering about their strategy and the possible effectiveness of their decisions.
On Monday evening, European leaders announced the closure of European airspace and airports to Belarusian planes, as well as the preparation of a new round of sanctions against the regime. A decision applauded in Washington, where President Joe Biden described the attitude of Belarusian power as “An insult to international rules” and asked his administration to take “All appropriate measures” to punish this act of piracy “In close coordination with the European Union”.
Monday evening, France, Ireland and Estonia also decided to seize the UN Security Council about the interception of the device. It was due to meet on Wednesday. Emmanuel Macron also said he was in favor of launching an invitation to the opponent Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, leader of the Belarusian opposition, for the G7 meeting in Cornwall (England), in June. “If the British wish”, said the president, returning the ball to the host country.
Define a common position
On the second day of the meeting of European leaders in Brussels, Tuesday, May 25, when the number of statements multiplied and some felt that President Lukashenko had to pay a high price for his act, questions arose. Would the interruption of air links with Minsk not penalize Belarusian civil society? Would the sanctions have an effect on a regime that has resisted them for many years? Russia, in search of an ever closer relationship with its neighbor, a buffer state with the EU and NATO, would it not, in the end, be the sole beneficiary of the current tensions?
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt expressed another question on Twitter: what will be the attitude of Turkey, this NATO member which has close relations with Belarus? After his re-election contested and described as “ rigged “ by the Europeans, in August 2020, Mr. Lukashenko had received the support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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