BRUSSELS, BELGIUMPress service of the European Union Council stated on Monday that seven non-EU countries sided with EU members’ decision to ban Belarusian airplanes from their airspace.

“The Council Decision decided to strengthen the existing restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus by introducing a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Belarusian carriers of all kinds,” the statement says.

“The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this Council Decision,” the press service said.

“They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision,” the press service added. “The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it,” it said.

Earlier on Monday, the EU Council at the foreign ministers level approved the fourth package of individual sanctions against 86 Belarusian individuals and legal entities and reached an agreement to impose economic sanctions on seven economic sectors of Belarus, including potash and petrochemicals export and the financial sector. Economic sanctions are subject to final approval at the EU Summit on June 24-25 and will become effective after that.

The May 23 Ryanair plane hijacking by Belarus has sent ongoing shockwaves through the international air travel industry. The aircraft, en route from Greece to Lithuania, was hijacked and forced to land in Minsk over a bogus bomb threat.

Immediately upon forced landing at Minsk airport, Belarusian security agents boarded the plane and arrested opposition blogger Roman Protasevich wanted by Lukashenko’s regime and his girlfriend, Russian citizen Sofia Sapega.