Georgian Foreign Ministry on Belarus Flight Diversion

Georgian Foreign Ministry on Belarus Flight Diversion”

"The plane was checked, no bomb was found and all passengers were sent for another security search", said Nexta, a Belarus opposition channel on the Telegram messaging app, which Protasevich previously edited.

An opponent of Belarusian president was arrested on Sunday - after a MiG-29 fighter jet forcibly diverted the Ryanair plane on which he was traveling following an alleged bomb threat, according to multiple media reports citing the country's Interior Ministry.

He said he'll face the death penalty here. "The United States stands with the people of Belarus".

Authorities boarded the plane and arrested Raman Pratasevich, the former editor-in-chief of one the most popular Telegram news channels in Belarus.

Ryanair said nothing untoward was found on the plane.

The other passengers looked tired on arrival in Vilnius, with Mantas saying they had spent hours in queues for luggage and passport checks in Minsk before being allowed into a lounge to await takeoff.

'It is absolutely obvious that this is an operation by the special services to hijack an aircraft in order to detain activist and blogger Raman Pratasevich, ' she said.

"Not a single person who flies over Belarus can be sure of his safety".

Although protests died down during the winter, Belarus has continued to take action against the opposition and independent news media.

Germany demanded that Belarus immediately explain why it ordered the flight to land and then detained Pratasevich on arrival.

"We welcome the safe landing of the Ryanair flight to its original destination - Vilnius [and] are happy for the people onboard", stated the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

Belarus "showed again its contempt for global community and its citizens", US Ambassador Julie Fisher said, calling the event "dangerous and abhorrent".

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Belarus's 'regime is behind this, ' Mr Nauseda said on Twitter.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called for an worldwide response. "The global community must take immediate steps that this does not repeat", Nauseda said.

European Union leaders will meet later today to discuss possible action following the incident.

The EU described the incident as a "hijacking" and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, said "the outrageous and illegal behaviour. will have consequences".

Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called Belarus's action "contrary to global law" and called for a "strong and effective" reaction, while Germany demanded an "immediate explanation" from Belarus.

"We are closely monitoring the forcible landing in Belarus of a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius, and the reported detention of opposition figure Roman Protasevich", NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg tweeted.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was closely monitoring the "forcible landing" of the flight and the subsequent arrest of Mr Protasevich.

It added that Protasevich said he was followed before boarding the flight.

The Ryanair aircraft is expected to leave tomorrow (Monday) for Vilnius with the rest of the passengers and 12 crew.

Poland's prime minister called it a "reprehensible act of state terrorism" and said he was pushing for a summit of European Union leaders this week to discuss immediate sanctions against Minsk.

The US state department called the forced diversion a "shocking act". "We demand his immediate release", Blinken said in a statement.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said "Such an act can not be left without definite consequences from the side of the European Union" and called for Pratasevich to be released.

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