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Travelers outside of the Domodedovo Airport outside of Moscow in April 2021. Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Russia Thursday blocked at least two European planes from landing in Moscow because they planned to avoid Belarusian airspace after Belarus diverted a Lithuania-bound flight to detain a government dissident on Monday, U.S. News reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the EU told European airlines not to fly over Belarus, and appears to seek to undermine the bloc's response to the country's strongman leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Context: EU leaders have described Lukashenko ordering the diversion of the Ryanair flight to arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich as a "hijacking," as did the CEO of Ryanair.

  • Lukashenko claimed this week the action was necessary to quell a bomb threat.
  • The UN's civil aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said in a statement the landing "could be in contravention of the Chicago Convention," a treaty protecting airspace sovereignty.
  • The EU, in addition to telling European airlines not to fly over Belarus, banned Belarusian airlines and promised more economic sanctions on the country.

The big picture: Russia on Thursday blocked an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna and an Air France flight from Paris from landing in Moscow.

  • The Kremlin denied any involvement in the detention of Pratasevich but did not criticize Lukashenko's actions.

Go deeper ... Biden: U.S. will coordinate with the EU on Belarus response

Go deeper

Sep 3, 2021 - World

AstraZeneca agrees to give EU 200M more vaccine doses, ending legal dispute

A health care worker preparing to administer a coronavirus vaccine in Berlin in August 2021. Photo: Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

AstraZeneca agreed to deliver 200 million more doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union by the end of the first quarter of 2022, the company announced Friday.

Why it matters: The deal ends a monthslong legal dispute between AstraZeneca and the EU over vaccine supplies and will bring the total number of doses delivered by the company to the EU to 340 million.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.