Airlines to face EU sanctions over Belarus flights

The EU plans new sanctions on airlines that fly migrants into Belarus.

Such flights are blamed for increasing the numbers of people seeking to cross the country's border with the EU, fuelling a mounting crisis at the frontier.

Belarus airline Belavia has already said it will put limits on who can board flights from Turkey.

Speaking Monday (November 15), European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen said the threat of new sanctions was already working:

"We have informed airlines that we will pave the way for a law to sanction carriers which support human trafficking, with the effect -- and this is good and right -- that Turkish Airlines has said they will no longer service Belarus. So did Cham Wings from Syria. Others will follow."

The EU says Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is encouraging migrants to go to the border as revenge for existing sanctions imposed on his country over human rights abuses:

"This is the attempt of an autocratic regime to manipulate people who they lured into a trap under false promises to destabilise its democratic neighbours. That won't happen. Europe is united here."

The new sanctions are part of a package of measures against Belarus, with details yet to be worked out by EU countries.

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