BRSSEL / MINSK (dpa-AFX) – After the forced plane landing in Minsk, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda spoke of state terrorism and called for measures. “We need clear actions to change the behavior of this very dangerous regime,” he said before the start of an already planned EU special summit in Brussels on Monday. Several EU countries – including Germany – have already called in their respective ambassadors from Belarus.
Authorities of the Republic of Belarus landed a Ryanair plane with more than 100 passengers en route from Athens to Vilnius on Sunday – allegedly because of a bomb threat. A MiG-29 fighter jet also rose, as confirmed by the military in Minsk. According to the Wesna Human Rights Center, the blogger Roman Protassewitsch, who was internationally wanted by Lukashenko and who was arrested in Minsk, was on board. The EU unanimously condemned the action and demanded Protassevich’s release.
“It is an unprecedented and very hideous act,” said Nauseda. It is like state terrorism against the European community. He said Belarusian airlines could be banned from using EU airspace, the airspace over Belarus could be classified as unsafe for civil aviation or sanctions could be tightened. Lithuania itself has already imposed an overflight ban.
Because of the ongoing suppression of the democracy movement in Belarus, the EU had already passed several sanction packages last year against supporters of President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko himself is among those affected./sz/DP/he