The Joe Biden government announced Monday that it is considering new measures against Belarus this time in response to the crash landing of a commercial jet at Minsk airport to arrest opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms both the diversion of the plane and the subsequent transfer and arrest of Pratasevich,” Biden said in a statement, describing the incident as “shameful attacks on both political dissent and freedom of the press.”

“I welcome the news that the European Union (EU) has called for targeted economic sanctions and other measures, and I have asked my team to present appropriate options to hold those responsible to account,” he said.

These measures against the government of Alexandr Lukashenko, Biden said, will be taken “in close coordination with the European Union, other allies and international partners and organizations.”

Biden also demanded the release of both the detainee and “hundreds of other political prisoners unjustly” imprisoned.

On the other hand, the White House national security adviser, Jack Sullivan, spoke on Monday with the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, to whom he reiterated Washington’s support for the movement he leads.

The United States, with Donald Trump (2017-2021) in power, imposed sanctions against more than fifty people and a dozen Belarusian entities as punishment for the repression against opposition protests and for alleged electoral fraud.

The Belarusian government on Sunday forced a commercial plane from Athens (Greece) to Vilnius (Lithuania) with around 120 passengers on board to land in Minsk to arrest Protasevich, an opposition journalist who was on board.

In response, EU leaders agreed on Monday to ban EU airspace to Belarusian companies, as well as to prohibit them from landing at EU airports, and called on European companies to avoid flying over that country.

They also pledged to expand the sanctions list to Belarus.

The Belarusian KGB included Protasevich in a list of terrorists in November 2020 after the Justice brought charges against him for organizing mass disorders, violating public order and instigating social discord.

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