With Belarus isolated by the West, Russia’s Putin meets with his ally Lukashenko
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko travelled to Russia on Friday for a meeting with Vladimir Putin. The meeting comes after Lukashenko has been isolated and punished by the West for intercepting a civilian jetliner flying over Belarus to arrest an opposition journalist on board. The meeting is symbolic as Lukashenko is reliant on his ally to remain in power after being isolated by the international community.
Lukashenko personally ordered authorities to divert a Ryanair plane from Lithuania to Minsk’s airport. Roman Protasevich was arrested upon landing and faces a 15-year sentence in prison. Belarus claimed there was an in-flight bomb threat that seems to have been sent after the plane was diverted. Air France and Austrian Airlines have had to cancel flights to Moscow on Thursday because new flight patterns avoiding Belarus’s airspace were not approved by Russian aviation authorities. E.U. leaders barred the bloc’s airlines from flying over Belarus on Monday. Russia remains as Belarus’s primary defender after the incident.