Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which uses relevant WPR coverage to provide background and context to the week’s top stories. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.
For decades, the president of Belarus, known as “Europe’s last dictator,” has been a thorn in the side of the continent’s democracies. But the threat Alexander Lukashenko poses to European security suddenly grew more serious Sunday, when his security forces—with the help of a transparently false cover story and an armed MiG-29 fighter jet—forced a commercial airliner flying over Belarusian airspace to land in Minsk in order to arrest Roman Protasevich, a reporter associated with the opposition-in-exile who was on the flight.
The incident internationalized what had been an internal political crisis within Belarus and immediately resulted in sanctions from the European Union and the U.K., including the banning of overflights of Belarus by European carriers and the suspension of landing rights to Belarus’ national airline.