Belarus Denounces “Unfounded” Claims Over Plane Diversion

Belarus authorities stated the aircraft needed to make an emergency touchdown in Minsk.

Minsk, Belarus:

Authorities in Belarus on Monday insisted they acted legally after they diverted a passenger aircraft carrying an opposition activist, accusing the West of creating unfounded claims for political causes.

The authorities of strongman Alexander Lukashenko provoked international fury on Sunday by pulling Ryanair flight FR4978 from its Athens-to-Vilnius route and arresting one of many passengers, opposition journalist and blogger Roman Protasevich, in Minsk.

Western leaders known as it an “act of state terrorism” and the EU is predicted to toughen sanctions towards Belarus on Monday.

Ireland described the compelled diversion of the flight operated by an Irish airline as a state-sponsored act of “aviation piracy”.

“There is no doubt that the actions of our competent authorities… fully met established international rules,” Belarusian international ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz stated, accusing the West of “politicising” the scenario.

“Unfounded accusations are being made,” he stated in an announcement, accusing the West of not desirous to be goal and threatening to slap new sanctions on Belarus.

Glaz stated it was “sad” that the passengers of the Ryanair flight “faced some inconvenience”.

“However the rules of aviation security are an absolute priority,” he added.

Belarus authorities stated the aircraft needed to make an emergency touchdown in Minsk following a bomb scare that turned out to be false.

Belarus state media has defended using a MiG-29 jet to divert the passenger aircraft, claiming authorities had no different selection.

Protasevich, 26, is a Belarusian journalist and activist.

Together with co-founder Stepan Putilo he till lately ran the Nexta telegram channel that galvanised and directed big protests towards Lukashenko’s disputed re-election to a sixth time period in August 2020.

Last yr, Protasevich and Putilo had been accused by Belarusian authorities of a lot of crimes together with organising mass riots. Protasevich left the Nexta mission final yr.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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