The aeropolitical dispute following the May 23 forced diversion of a Ryanair flight by authorities in Minsk has reached new heights after the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) formally recommended avoiding Belarusian airspace. In a seemingly retaliatory response, Russia has since banned from flying to Moscow, at least three European flights that followed this recommendation.

On May 25, EASA issued a Safety Information Bulletin, in which it accused Belarus of disregarding international civil aviation rules and creating unnecessary danger.

"The circumstances surrounding this action cast serious doubts on the respect shown by Belarus for international civil aviation rules... The actions undertaken by Belarus amounted to an increased safety risk for the above-mentioned flight and put into question the ability of Belarus to provide safe air navigation services," the European regulator said.

EASA consequently recommended that all airlines based in its member states (the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) avoid flying over, as well as to, Belarus pending the conclusion of an investigation into the event. Even though the bulletin is not a safety directive and therefore not binding, all EASA-regulated carriers have followed the recommendation.

The agency also advised all Third Country Operators flying to or from EASA member states to avoid Belarusian airspace. However, this recommendation has even less legally binding and has only been followed by a limited number of carriers. Among the few that adhered to the recommendation is Singapore Airlines, which confirmed it would not be flying over Belarus for the time being.

However, as European airlines started following the recommendation, Moscow, a key backer of strongman Alexander Lukashenko, has stepped in. On May 26, Russian authorities denied Air France (AF, Paris CDG) permission to fly to Moscow Sheremetyevo, after the flight plan it filed followed a route that would have avoided Belarus. On May 27, the French carrier had to cancel its service to Moscow again for the same reason. On the same day, the Russian authorities issued a similar refusal to Austrian Airlines, forcing it to cancel its Vienna-Moscow Domodedovo flight.

However, other European Union carriers have continued to fly to Moscow even though they have also bypassed Belarus.

Ryanair flight FR4978 from Athens Int'l to Vilnius was forced to land at Minsk National by the Belarusian authorities after they alerted the crew about a suspected bomb on board. They then scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to force the jet down just as it was due to leave Belarusian airspace. Upon landing, the authorities detained independent journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega. The aircraft departed to Vilnius after a 7-hour delay. The event prompted the European Union to ban Belavia (B2, Minsk National) from the bloc's airspace.