Belarusian sanctions firmly on agenda as EU leaders meet in Brussels

Inside Politics: Democratic countries ‘have to stand up’ to authoritarianism, says Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin at EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP

Taoiseach Micheal Martin at EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP

The scrambling of a Belarusian Mig-29 fighter jet to escort a Ryanair aircraft to Minsk put the regime of “Europe’s last dictator”, Alexander Lukashenko, firmly on the agenda for leaders gathered in Brussels.

European Council members had been expecting a summit dominated by Covid-19, with some discussions on climate change, Russia and post-Brexit relations with the UK.

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