Western politicians accused Belarus of being a national piracy and “belligerent behavior” because they sought to respond appropriately to Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko’s actions to force a Ryanair plane to land in Belarus. Critics of the Belarusian authorities were arrested.
On Sunday, a Belarusian fighter plane intercepted a Ryanair plane flying from Greece to Lithuania and forced it to land in Minsk.
The Belarusian authorities subsequently arrested 26-year-old Roman Protashevich. After extensive repression of the media and opposition last year, his post on the Lithuanian Exiles’ social network Telegram was the last independent message of Belarusians. One of the sources.
Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney (Simon Coveney) said: “This is essentially a national aerial piracy activity.”
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said: “This is dangerous and unheard of. The EU will naturally respond.”
The head of the Foreign Policy Committee of the British Parliament, Tom Tugendhat, pointed out that the flight was from one EU and NATO member state to another.
He said: “If this is not a declaration of war, it must be a belligerent move.”
Belarus claimed that its actions were due to a bomb threat on the plane, although it turned out that there was no threat. On Monday, Minsk announced that the flight controller had issued instructions to the plane, but they had not ordered the landing.
Russia accuses the West of hypocrisy, which is due to a precedent in 2013. Then, after reports that the plane was the most famous whistleblower and fugitive in the world, the plane from Bolivian President Eva Morales was transferred to Austria. Edward Snowden, the US judiciary.
This issue is critical to the summit of European leaders, but options for effective responses may be limited.
Last year, the European Union and the United States have imposed more economic sanctions on Minsk, but this has not affected the policies of long-time Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. The leader of Belarus, Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, suppressed protests after the opposition’s claims were stolen in the election.
At the very least, the incident will disrupt established air traffic routes. Latvian Baltic Airlines (Baltic) announced on Monday that it will no longer fly in Belarusian airspace for the first time.
Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, described Sunday’s incident as a state-sponsored kidnapping. He said he believed that the Belarusian intelligence service was on the plane and landing in Minsk.
This means that the operation needs to be coordinated with Belarusian spies in Greece.
European Foreign Minister Borrell said in a statement on Monday: “The EU will consider the consequences of such actions, including measures against those responsible.”