Japan to close access to the country’s airspace for Belarusian airlines

The Japanese authorities prohibit Belarusian airliners from flying over their country and recommend that national airlines avoid the airspace of Belarus.

The decision is due to the incident with a forced landing at the Minsk airport of a Ryanair plane flying on the Athens-Vilnius route, which occurred on May 23. Katsunobu Kato, General Secretary of the Japanese Cabinet, said at a press conference:

In connection with the forced landing of a commercial flight, national airlines will send a security warning advising them to avoid the airspace of Belarus.

He also noted that, in connection with the imposed ban, Belarusian airlines will not be able to use the airspace of Japan.

Ban for Belarusian air carriers the use of airports and EU airspace came into effect on 5 June. Control over it is entrusted to the governments of the countries of the European Union. Many of them are NATO members with the ability to use military aircraft to reliably protect their skies from unwanted air traffic. An important decree is part of a package of sanctions imposed against Belarus in connection with the forced landing at the Minsk airport of a Ryanair plane to arrest a pro-government journalist on that flight.

In accordance with the decision of the European Union to ban the use of airspace over the European Union by Belarusian airlines, as well as the landing of their aircraft at EU airports, Greece also closed the sky over its territory. Greek airlines are ordered to avoid flying over Belarus, and Belarusian airlines are prohibited from landing at Greek airports.

The ban does not apply to humanitarian flights and cases when landing is forced. The measures are valid until July 5, then the decision will be reviewed. The message from the Greek Civil Aviation Authority says:

The NOTAM, which is valid until July 5, 2021, follows the decision of the European Union to ban Belarusian airlines from flying into EU airspace or landing at its airports. EU airlines are advised to avoid the airspace of Belarus.

On June 1, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, at a press conference after the meeting of the Alliance Foreign Ministers, said that NATO is in a single position with the European Union regarding the emergency landing of a Ryanair aircraft in Minsk and supports sanctions on Belarus.

Government U.S.A, in addition to the already existing sanctions against Belarus, announced additional and published a press release stating that Lukashenka’s “list of targeted sanctions against key members of the regime” was drawn up in coordination with the European Union and (quote):

“Forcible redirection by Belarus under the false pretext of a commercial Ryanair flight between the two EU member states and the arrest of opposition journalist Roman Pratasevich were a violation of international rules.”

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