After Belarus asked for a change, the European Union called for investigations and arrests of opposition journalists
Western leaders condemned the transfer of a plane to Belarus in order to arrest an opposition journalist for acts of piracy and terrorism. This was requested by the European Union and other countries on Monday to investigate the major forced landing of a Ryanair jet. As a result, this ended with the arrest of an opposition journalist. Travel between two EU member states.
The airline said that the Belarusian flight controller told the crew that the plane was threatened by a bomb while crossing the country’s airspace and ordered it to land in the capital of Minsk. A Belarusian MiG-29 fighter was escorted to escort the plane.
Raman Pratasevich (Raman Pratasevich), who runs a popular messaging app, played a key role in helping organize mass protests against the dictatorship of Belarus. He and his Russian girlfriend landed He was taken off the plane shortly thereafter. The plane started flying from Athens, Greece, and was finally allowed to continue to Vilnius, Lithuania.
Western leaders strongly condemned this move.
The presidiums of the foreign affairs committees of several western legislatures call it piracy.
A joint statement signed by representatives from several European Union countries, the United Kingdom and the United States said: “This kind of reckless action puts passengers and crews in serious danger. This reminds the legitimacy of the regime in Minsk.” International civil aviation is required. Organize investigations.
“State-sponsored terrorist acts”
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said that the transfer of the plane was shocking, while Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called it a “state-sponsored terrorist act.” He proposed to ban Belarusian aircraft from taking off from EU airports and impose “serious sanctions” on the Belarusian government.
During months of protests, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on senior Belarusian officials. This was triggered by President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election as the sixth presidency in a vote in August. The opposition The proposal was rejected on the grounds of manipulation.
Since August, more than 34,000 people have been arrested in Belarus and thousands have been brutally beaten.
Late Monday, the 27 EU leaders held a two-day summit, and the issue immediately became the top issue.
The head of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, called it “again, the Belarusian authorities blatantly attempted to eliminate all opposition voices.” He called the rerouting of the aircraft an “not allowed step.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus expressed indignation at the EU’s so-called “belligerent” statement on Monday, insisting that the actions taken by the country’s authorities “fully comply with international rules”.
Conflicting reports on transfers
The flight tracker website shows that the plane was about 10 kilometers away from the Lithuanian border when it was diverted. There are conflicting reports about what happened.
Lukashenko’s press service said the president himself ordered a fighter jet to accompany the plane after learning of the bomb threat. Air Force Deputy Commander Andrei Gurtsevich (Andrei Gurtsevich) said that the crew decided to land in Minsk.
But Ryanair said in a statement that the Belarusian air traffic control department instructed the aircraft to be transferred to the capital.
Passenger Marius Rutkauskas said after the plane finally arrived in Vilnius: “I saw this Belarusian boy and his girlfriend sitting behind us. When the pilot said the plane was changed to Minsk, he scared him. Broken. He said there was a death sentence waiting for him there.”
Rutkaskas said: “We sat for an hour after landing. Then they began to release the passengers and grabbed the two men. We never saw them again.”
Pratasevich is the co-founder of the Telegram communication app Nexta Channel, which played an important role in helping organize large-scale protests against Lukashenko. The Belarusian authorities have designated them as extremists and have put down allegations of inciting riots against Pratasevich. If convicted, they could face 15 years in prison.