The Belarusian regime yesterday forced a civilian aeroplane belonging to Ryanair on a flight from Athens to Vilnius to divert to Minsk airport minutes before it entered Lithuanian airspace. On landing, a well-known Belarusian blogger Roman Protasiewicz was detained. Representatives of the Polish government have described the diversion of the plane, which involved the use of Belarusian military aircraft, as a highjacking and an act of state terrorism.
On Sunday, a Ryanair Sun flight from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk. The plane was intercepted by a MiG-29 fighter jet. One of the passengers was Roman Protasiewicz, an opposition activist, journalist and blogger. After landing, Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained by the Belarusian authorities. The passengers of the flight were detained for several hours at the airport and their documents were checked.
The actions of the Belarusian authorities have been described as “state terrorism”.
“There are no countries in the EU, which would not condemn this attack, which would not call for measures to be taken against the regime of Aleksander Lukashenko.” stated Paweł Jabłoński, the deputy minister of foreign affairs.
Poland’s Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro has ordered an investigation into the forced landing of the plane. The Boeing 737 belongs to a Ryanair subsidiary registered in Warsaw. Prof. Romuald Szeremietiew stresses that Russia is behind Lukashenko’s actions and the whole situation takes place just after President Biden decided not to extend US sanctions on the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is demanding firm action against Belarus.
“Today at the European Council Summit, I will propose that all flights from the territory of Belarus to the EU and vice versa be stopped.” said the PM.
In turn, today the departure of a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt was delayed for two hours at Minsk airport. The airport reported that it had received an email about “intentions to commit a terrorist act”. The threats were not confirmed and the plane was in the end able to leave for Frankfurt.