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European Commission President calls for sanctions against Belarus over Ryanair flight's diversion

Source : 112 Ukraine

On May 24, the European Council will discuss steps to be taken in response to the situation in Minsk
08:46, 24 May 2021

AFP

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for swift sanctions after Belarus’s authoritarian ruler forced a Ryanair plane to land in Minsk and detained a prominent opposition journalist. She announced this on her Twitter page. 

“The outrageous and illegal behaviour of the regime in Belarus will have consequences. Those responsible for the Ryanair hijacking must be sanctioned,” von der Leyen wrote on May 23 in a late-night tweet.

On May 24, the European Council will discuss the steps to be taken in relation to this situation.

Roman Protasevich, an opposition activist and journalist who faces charges in Belarus that could bring 15 years in prison, was aboard the Ryanair flight from Athens, Greece, to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius when it changed course between the two EU members to head for Minsk.

Belarusian state news agency BelTA reported that Lukashenko had personally ordered a MiG-29 fighter jet to escort the Ryanair plane to land in Minsk, ostensibly due to a bomb threat. Officials later said no explosives were found on the plane.

Protasevich and his girlfriend were taken away by police shortly after the Ryanair flight landed in the Belarusian capital. Ryanair said the flight arrived safely in Vilnius on May 23 after a delay in Minsk of several hours.

Related: Ursula von der Leyen declines Zelensky’s invitation to Crimean Platform

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