Home WORLD Lukashenko defends the diversion of Belarusian planes, condemns critics | Euronews

Lukashenko defends the diversion of Belarusian planes, condemns critics | Euronews



President Alexander Lukashenko accused the outside world of “wrongful people” for launching a “hybrid war” against Belarus to defend the forced transfer of a passenger plane in Minsk, which caused global outrage.

Belarus forced a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land in its capital on Sunday in response to an alleged bomb threat.

Belarusian authorities were subsequently detained Roman Protasevich, A 26-year-old journalist, a critic of the long-time ruler Lukashenko, and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega on the boat.

Both parties are now facing criminal charges.

The state-run Berta News Agency reported that Lukashenko said in his first public comment on Sunday’s actions that he had acted in accordance with international norms.

The 66-year-old claimed that he wanted to “protect the people” by changing the flight and dismissed reports that Mig-29 fighters forced the plane to land as an “absolute lie”.

Lukashenko accused critics of trying to use the plane incident to undermine his 27-year rule.

Lukashenko told members of Congress: “As we expected, bad wishes from abroad and at home have changed the way they attack the country.”

“They crossed many red lines and gave up common sense and human morality.”

Lukashenko vowed to take severe measures against any sanctions or provocations, threatening to weaken the country’s border controls to stop westbound immigration and drug trafficking.

Russia, which provides security, diplomatic and financial support to Minsk, said on Wednesday that there is no reason not to believe Belarus’ explanation.

In response to the diversion and arrest of Protasevich’s aircraft, the European Union Impose more sanctions The countries of the former Soviet Union have been banned from joining the European Union, and Belarusian Airlines has been banned from joining the 27-nation group.

Several aircraft carriers also Suspended flights In Belarusian airspace.

Protasevich, Sapega confessed

The above remarks were made after Protasevich (who left Belarus in 2019).

In a video posted online by the Belarusian authorities on Monday, Protasevich said he was in good health and was being held in a pre-trial detention facility in Minsk.

He admitted that after Lukashenko won his sixth term in a controversial election in August last year, Belarus played a role in the massive anti-government rally that shook Belarus last year.

Sapega, a Russian citizen, said in a video broadcast on state television on Tuesday that she was the editor of the Telegram messaging app channel, which disclosed the personal data of Belarusian law enforcement officers, a crime in Belarus.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that according to several provisions of the Belarusian Criminal Code, the 23-year-old Sepega may face criminal charges.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian opposition in exile in Lithuania, tweeted that Sapega appeared to be under psychological pressure.

The Russian news agency TASS quoted his father Sergey Dudich as saying that the Belarusian authorities kept Sapega in the pretrial detention facility for two months.

Sapega’s mother Anna Dudich told Reuters that her daughter was innocent.

‘We must stop terror’

Lukashenko said on Wednesday that Protasevich had planned a “bloody rebellion” in Belarus and that there will be no more street protests in the country.

Minsk vigorously suppressed last year’s protests. It is understood that the number of people arrested for participating in the rally is tens of thousands.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Minsk’s response to the protests.

However, these measures seem to have no effect on Lukashenko’s behavior, and Lukashenko has continued to suppress dissidents.

Since his re-election, the authorities have surrounded more opponents, and now all major opponents are now in prison or exile and moved to newer independent media outlets.

Tsikhanouskaya said on Wednesday that despite the suppression, the Belarusian opposition is still preparing for a new phase of active anti-government protests.

She said: “There is nothing to wait. We must stop terrorist activities once and for all.”


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