On Sunday a Ryanair flight was highjacked by the Belarusian President which led to a “false bomb threat” in order to arrest a key journalist who is an oponent to Alexander Lukashenko.
A spokesman for President Alexander Lukashenko said he had personally ordered an armed Mig-29 fighter jet to accompany the Ryanair flight to Minsk moments before the plane was to leave their airspace.
Roman Protasevich, 26 was arrested as the flight landed in Minsk after the flight was illegally diverted the flight from Athens to Lithuania to the capital in Belarus.
Lukashenko used the military for his own political gain which is “state sponsored piracy” Michale O’Leary said.
Simon Coveney, Foreign Minister of Ireland said, “This was effectively aviation piracy, state-sponsored,” and no bomb was found onboard the flight.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said, “The UK condemns yesterday’s actions by the Belarusian authorities, who arrested journalist Roman Protasevich on the basis of a ruse, having forced his flight to land in Minsk. Mr Lukashenko must be held to account for his outlandish actions.”
Raab wrote on Twitter, “The UK is alarmed by reports of the arrest of Nexta TV journalist Roman Protasevich & circumstances that led to his flight being forced to land in Minsk.
“We are coordinating with our allies. This outlandish action by Lukashenko will have serious implications.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the incident as “serious and dangerous” which now “requires international investigation.”
A Ryanair spokesperson told Metro.co.uk, “The crew on a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius today were notified by Belarus ATC of a potential security threat on board and were instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk.
“The aircraft landed safely and passengers were offloaded while security checks were completed by local authorities.
“Nothing untoward was found and authorities cleared the aircraft to depart together with passengers and crew after approximately five hours on the ground in Minsk.”
She added, “The aircraft departed for Vilnius at 6.50pm UK time and landed safely at 7.25pm.
“Ryanair has notified the relevant national and European safety and security agencies and we apologise sincerely to all affected passengers for this regrettable delay, which was outside Ryanair’s control.