Russia will increase the number of regular flights with Belarus heading from Moscow to Minsk up to 10 per week and everyday railway service from Polotsk and Gomel to Moscow will be also resumed, the anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on Monday.
"A decision has been made on increasing from June 10 the number of flights with Belarus on Moscow-Minsk route up to 10 per week on a mutual basis. Since June 10, railway service will be restored with Belarus on the routes Gomel-Moscow and Polotsk-Moscow on every day basis, and also the number of train cars will be increased on Lastochka trains heading from Moscow to Minsk," according to the statement, TASS reports.
Earlier, Russian and Belarusian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko ordered the two countries’ transport ministries to "organize all aspects of air traffic."
On May 23, a Vilnius-bound Ryanair plane that took off from Athens made an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a reported bomb threat. A MiG-29 fighter jet alert crew was scrambled to escort the plane. After the landing, the plane was inspected and no bomb was found on board. The Belarusian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into a false bomb alert. Among the passengers on that flight was Roman Protasevich, one of the co-founders of the Nexta Telegram channel, which Minsk recognized as an extremist entity. Protasevich was detained by law enforcement agents once the plane had landed in the Belarusian capital. Russian national Sofia Sapega was also detained together with him. On May 23 evening, the plane left Minsk airport and continued on to Vilnius.
Following the incident with a Ryanair flight, EU leaders decided to block Belarusian airlines from landing at EU airports and flying over the EU’s territory, also advising European carriers to prohibit their airliners from flying into Belarusian airspace. Certain countries have already closed their airspace for the Belarusian carrier. Among them are the UK, France, Sweden, Latvia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.