European Union imposes sanctions on Belarus over 'hijacked' Ryanair flight

Airport personnel and security forces are seen on the tarmac in front of a Ryanair flight which was forced to land in Minsk Belarus

Airport personnel and security forces are seen on the tarmac in front of a Ryanair flight which was forced to land in Minsk Belarus

The speech to parliament will be the first time the Belarusian leader has spoken in public since Sunday's rerouting of a Ryanair flight to Minsk and the subsequent arrest of opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

"I am not a surgeon, but it is certain that they hit his nose and may have broken it", Protasevich's mother said of the video that was circulated by the authorities.

He tweeted: 'The video of Roman Protasevich makes for deeply distressing viewing.

Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, on Monday condemned Belarus' actions, telling the Irish radio station NewsTalk "this was a case of state-sponsored hijacking".

It follows Monday's announcement that the European Union and the United Kingdom would issue new sanctions against Belarus in light of the arrest, with Mr Shapps instructing the Civil Aviation Authority to request airlines avoid Belarusian air space "to keep passengers safe". Ryanair said Belarusian air traffic controllers had informed the flight of an alleged security threat and instructed it to land in Minsk.

She asked for the Belarusian opposition to be invited to next month's G7 summit in Britain, an initiative that sources close to the French president said Paris supported.

He said it was "very hard to believe" the seizure of Mr Protasevich from the flight could have taken place "without at least the acquiescence of the authorities in Moscow".

The claim of a genuine bomb scare has been dismissed by Western leaders.

Belarus faces new sanctions over jetliner ‘state piracy,’ arrest of journalist
Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya urged the worldwide community to go further in isolating the regime. Neighbouring Ukraine has also said it would halt direct flights between the two countries and over Belarus.

Mr Raab said that although the situation was not yet clear, the relationship between Minsk and Moscow suggested Russian leaders may have been aware of the plans in advance. They backed banning Belarusian airlines from flying over EU territory and called on European airlines to avoid flying over Belarus.

Protasevich, 26, was a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel, which helped organise the protests previous year that were the biggest challenge to Lukashenko's long rule. The channel has about 1.2 million subscribers.

A 30-second video of Protasevich was broadcast by state television late Monday, in which he confirmed that he was in prison in Minsk and "confessed" to charges of organising mass unrest.

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

On Tuesday, Mr Protasevich's mother said she had not slept since her son and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega were arrested after the Athens-to-Vilnius flight landed in Minsk.

"All I can say is the behavior of the Belarus regime does not lend itself to think that in any way this statement was offered voluntarily", Therese Coffey, a British government minister, told Sky News on Tuesday.

Sofia, a Russian citizen, is in the final year of worldwide law studies at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. "This is an act of pure revenge!" she said. "She is a very tough girl in a moral sense".

On Monday night Pete Buttigieg, the United States secretary of transportation, said in a statement: "We strongly condemn the actions the Belarusian government took to force the diversion of a Ryanair flight for the apparent objective of arresting journalist Roman Pratasevich". The UK calls for his immediate and unconditional release and the release of all other political prisoners in Belarus.

Recommended News

  • Key impeachment witness sues Pompeo over $1.8 million in unpaid legal fees

    Key impeachment witness sues Pompeo over $1.8 million in unpaid legal fees

    Initially, Sondland said he had no knowledge of a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine. Pompeo is confident the court will see it the same way", the spokesperson said in an emailed comment.
    Melbourne imposes new Covid-19 restrictions as community cluster grows to five

    Melbourne imposes new Covid-19 restrictions as community cluster grows to five

    Schools and workplaces remain open and Victorians who live in greater Melbourne can still travel to regional Victoria. People who have visited the listed stores during the specified times must get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
    De Blasio: No remote options for NYC students this fall

    De Blasio: No remote options for NYC students this fall

    About 60% of city families - a lot of them people of color - are still in full remote-learning mode. "Anyone who has a question or concern, come into your child's school".
  • The best times to see rare 'super' blood moon in Australia

    The best times to see rare 'super' blood moon in Australia

    However, this phase is hard to see with the naked eye, Even with a telescope , Because the rays of the sun still reach the moon. A total lunar eclipse will be visible from parts of Australia, Asia and the western parts of North and South America on May 26.
    USA  marks anniversary of the killing — George Floyd

    USA marks anniversary of the killing — George Floyd

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he wouldn't support any bill that ended qualified immunity. It quickly turned into a memorial - and also a challenging spot for the city, with police officers not always welcome.
    India's total deaths from COVID-19 surpass 300 000

    India's total deaths from COVID-19 surpass 300 000

    The Health Ministry on Monday reported 4,454 new deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing India's total fatalities to 303,720. According to the data, the recovery rate has improved to 88.69% and the case fatality rate has increased to 1.14%.
  • Pfizer explores co-administration of pneumococcal vaccine with COVID-19 booster shot

    Pfizer explores co-administration of pneumococcal vaccine with COVID-19 booster shot

    At least 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine were sent to the city which reportedly has a longer shelf life of one year. The latter has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization but was fast-tracked for use by city health regulators.

    Is No Credit Better Than Having Bad Credit?

    In fact, that’s the best possible use of credit — engaging it to do something that can help you make money. No Credit The good news about having no credit history is there’s nothing negative about you out there.

    The US Open Final: Who Will Make it?

    The 34-year-old Swiss won the first two sets 6-4 and 7-5, forcing an injured and struggling Djokovic to retire in the third. If she’s at her best, then she’ll make it to the final and if she performs on the day the title will be hers.
  • India forces WhatsApp to backtrack on enforcing controversial new policy

    India forces WhatsApp to backtrack on enforcing controversial new policy

    WhatsApp says that one of the new media rules will violate user privacy on its platform. "We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks".
    Ontario to resume AstraZeneca shots for COVID-19 as second dose

    Ontario to resume AstraZeneca shots for COVID-19 as second dose

    As well, Ontario now has a stockpile of 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca that has a shelf-life that expires at the end of May. To book an appointment online, these individuals must already be 12 years old as of the date of their booking.

    5 Tips to Reduce Gym Anxiety

    Not only will a friend offer emotional support, but they will also help create a sense of accountability in what you do. It also gives the opportunity of learning how equipment is used as you will have the time to observe and try using it.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.