Europe must not fail the desperate citizens of Belarus

The escalating crisis in ‘the North Korea of Europe’ must focus minds in Brussels, Warsaw and Berlin

Aleksandr Lukashenko indulged in his most cowardly act yet, when he ordered the interception of a Ryanair plane carrying mostly EU passengers flying between two EU cities

The European Union’s eastern neighbourhood is its most unstable hinterland, and its toughest strategic challenge. From the Balkans to Turkey to Ukraine, the bloc is confronted by local instability or Turkish grandstanding or Russian aggression or upheaval further east, in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Yet none of Europe’s eastern problems is more urgent than Belarus. Europe’s “last dictatorship” has been ruled since 1994 by Aleksandr Lukashenko, an erratic tyrant.

For this unrepentant Stalinist, the collapse ...