"You Have Bomb On Board", Belarus Told Pilot Of Diverted Ryanair Plane

Brass background brown golden copper metal plate XXL

The diversion of a Ryanair flight en route to Lithuania by Belarus, leading to the arrest of a dissident journalist who was on board, has sparked worldwide outrage and calls for tough sanctions against the former Soviet-bloc nation.

European Union leaders on Monday warned they would adopt further "targeted economic sanctions" against the Belarusian authorities to add to the 88 regime figures and seven companies already on a blacklist over a crackdown on opposition.

A supporter of Raman Pratasevich holding a placard reading "I am/we are Roman Protasevich" waits for the arrival of a Ryanair flight after it was diverted to Belarus, at Vilnius Airport in Vilnius, May 23, 2021.

Neighbouring Ukraine has also said it would halt direct flights between the two countries and over Belarus.

In a video posted online, the detained blogger Roman Protasevich, 26, said he was in good health, being held in a pretrial detention facility in Minsk, and acknowledged having played a role in organising mass disturbances in the capital previous year.

In the video clip, Pratasevich, 26, said his treatment in custody was "maximally correct and according to law".

The video first appeared after independent media in Belarus suggested Protasevich was hospitalized suffering from a heart problem. Protasevich in the video denied he was suffering from any health problems. Both Greece and Lithuania are European Union member states.

Ryanair said in a statement that the flight crew of the diverted aircraft was notified by air traffic controllers in Belarus of "a potential security threat on board and were instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk".

On the ground, Belarusian agents took Protasevich away and detained Sepega.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called it a "hijacking", and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda described the incident as a "state-sponsored terror act".

The spiralling tensions around Belarus were in evidence as Minsk expelled the entire staff of Latvia's embassy, including the ambassador, after accusing Latvian authorities of having used an opposition flag at an ice hockey championship.

A senior official from Belarus' transport ministry on Monday sought to make the implausible claim the hoax bomb threat had been sent by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. "I truly hope that the global community will wake up for him".

European leaders have dismissed the Belarusian explanations, in fact, before Monday's summit, Germany's leader, Angela Merkel, called them "totally implausible".

Pratasevich created a channel on the online messaging service Telegram and helped organize protests.

Protasevich has left NEXTA and now runs his own popular blog.

Belarusian authorities last year placed Protasevich on a terrorism watchlist and opened criminal cases against him on the mass disorder charges and also of inciting hatred, offenses that carry 15 and 12 year prison sentences.

Protsevich's father Dmitry on Monday told Radio Free Europe he feared his son might be tortured in Belarus.

"Leaders all agreed that Russian Federation is consistently challenging both our interests and our values by its actions in the past but also in the present", she said. Natalya Protasevich clarified that she received this information from "people in the medical community", but said she doesn't know if the reports are true. I really hope that the worldwide community will stand up.

"I feel very, very sorry about Roman".

Biden called Pratasevich's detainment by the Belarusian authorities is a "direct affront to worldwide norms". "A free press is essential to a functioning democracy, and the United States has called for his immediate release".



Latest news

Youngstown church will host George Floyd memorial service
One of those officers, Derek Chauvin , kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes while Floyd struggled to breathe. In the months that have followed Floyd's murder, Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, Rep.

Italian cable auto plunges to the ground, killing at least 9
Milan said a total of 15 people were believed to be in the cable auto at the time, though the exact number wasn't certain. It is the latest incident to raise questions about the quality of Italy's transport infrastructure.

US CDC investigates reports of heart inflammation in young Covid vaccine recipients
Muscat: Dubai Health opens the door for registration to vaccinate children between the ages 12-15 years against COVID-19. Cases of VITT are reportedly lower with second doses than with first, NACI said.

Italian cable auto plunges to the ground, killing at least 12
The mountain has a small amusement park, Alpyland, and a children's roller coaster with 360-degree views. The lift had just recently re-opened following the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

Alberta identifies 908 new COVID-19 cases, positivity rate of 9.1%
In Morinville, active cases dropped from 37 to 33 overnight, while Sturgeon County saw its active cases decrease from 73 to 71. Hospitalizations dropped Friday to 638 people receiving treatment, down from 665 on Thursday.

Other news