Belarusian national airline Belavia banned from EU airspace

The EU has banned Belarusian planes from its skies or accessing its airports after the forced grounding of a Ryanair flight, the BBC has reported.

European airlines are also being strongly encouraged to avoid flying over the ex-Soviet country.

EU states are furious at Belarus for forcing a passenger flight to land in Minsk last month and then detaining an opposition journalist who was on board.

But some airline bodies have criticised the EU for "politicising" air travel.

Roman Protasevich, 26, was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania on 23 May which was rerouted over a supposed bomb threat.

Mr Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega were arrested after the plane was grounded in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

On Friday, the journalist made a tearful TV appearance, admitting that he had organised anti-government protests.

But his family say he was coerced into making the confession, and rights groups said marks on his wrists visible in the interview suggested he had been tortured.

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