Air France cancelled a Paris-Moscow flight on Wednesday, after Russia failed to approve a new route bypassing Belarus, reported by Reuters.

Air France flight AF1154 was cancelled "for operational reasons linked to the bypassing of Belarusian airspace, requiring a new authorization from the Russian authorities to enter their territory" an Air France spokesman said.

The European Union has urged its airlines to avoid Belarus and its airspace amid outrage over Sunday's forced landing in Minsk of a Ryanair B737-800 jet, en route to Lithuania from Greece.

Flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was “notified by Belarus ATC of a potential threat risk onboard” and changed course to “the nearest airport, Minsk” according to a Ryanair statement. Roman Protasevich, a well-known opposition activist and blogger, was arrested on arrival; allegedly under the instructions of the Belarusian government. Reuters reported that he is on a wanted list in the wake of large demonstrations following last year’s elections.

Air France, which operates several weekly services to Moscow, said it still planned to run its next scheduled Moscow flight on Friday, subject to Russian approval of a flight plan that would allow it to avoid overflying Belarus.

Source: Reuters