Speed Reads

Belarusian break

Belarus' forced flight diversion suggests country is 'prepared for a total break with Europe'

Belarus' forced diversion of a RyanAir flight, which has been labeled a state-sponsored hijacking by many in the international community, suggests the country's President Alexander Lukashenko is "prepared for a total break with Europe," The Atlantic's Anne Applebaum writes.

Unlike other authoritarian regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China, Applebaum argues, Lukashenko has "few levers of influence abroad," so the fact that he was "willing to falsely detain and possibly endanger a European-owned, European-registered airplane carrying mostly European Union citizens from one EU nation [Greece] to another [Lithuania]" to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist strongly hints that he wasn't too concerned about how Brussels would respond, despite the fact that Belarus sits on the EU's border.

Instead, Applebaum continues, it means Lukashenko "is completely confident of Russian economic and political support." As she notes, he's already received some unsurprising praise from Kremlin allies and officials. Read more at The Atlantic.