Belarus forces plane to land so journalist can be detained

Published May 24 2021 at 2:37 AM GMT
  • Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus, ordered a fighter jet on Sunday to intercept a Ryanair plane headed from Greece to Lithuania, forcing it to land in Minsk so a dissident journalist on board could be arrested.
  • The act was immediately condemned by European leaders, including Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, who called it "abhorrent," and Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who described it as "an act of state terrorism.
  • While flying over Belarus, the plane's pilots were told by Belarusian air traffic controllers there was "a potential security threat on board," and they needed to divert to Minsk, Ryanair said in a statement.
  • Belarusian state media said a bomb threat had been called in, and Lukashenko ordered an MiG-29 fighter jet to escort the plane to the Minsk airport.
  • Once the plane landed, authorities arrested passenger Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old dissident journalist who has lived in exile in Lithuania for the last few years.



  • Published May 24, 2021 2:37 AM GMT