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Jailed Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich attends a press conference in Minsk, Belarus, on June 14. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation issued an order Tuesday proposing restrictions on the sale of passenger airline tickets between the U.S. and Belarus.

Why it matters: The move follows Belarus' decision last month to divert a commercial Ryanair flight in order to detain journalist and opposition leader Raman Pratasevich.

  • In the aftermath of the incident, President Biden said his administration was developing "appropriate options" to hold Belarus accountable, but the U.S. didn't immediately impose restrictions.
  • Belarus' actions were described as a "hijacking" by some European leaders and condemned by the European Council.

What they're saying: "DOT’s order is premised on the Department of State’s determination that, in light of the diversion of Ryanair flight 4978, it is in the foreign policy interests of the United States to limit transportation between the United States and Belarus," the department said in a statement Tuesday.

  • "The prohibition would provide the ability for the U.S. Government to make case-by-case exceptions for any transportation deemed to be in the national interest of the United States, including on humanitarian or national security grounds," it added.
  • The prohibition would also apply to "interline" air travel in which tickets are booked through one airline and contain flights operated by multiple airlines, according to the DOT.
  • The order is open for public comment until Thursday.

Yes, but: The decision to restrict airline ticket sales is "mostly symbolic" since "relatively few tickets are purchased for travel to Belarus from U.S.-based travel services," Reuters notes.

Go deeper

United Airlines staff with vaccine religious exemptions face unpaid leave

A United Airlines plane landing in Lisbon. Photo: Horacio Villalobos Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

United Airlines staffers who are granted religious exemptions for the company's COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be placed on temporary unpaid leave starting Oct. 2, the airline told employees in a memo.

Driving the news: United last month became the first major U.S. airline to institute a vaccine mandate for employees, and acknowledged then it would consider exemptions for religious, personal or medical exemptions.

34 mins ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne's spent longer under lockdowns than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.