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EU will discuss aircraft’s forced diversion, arrest of journalist

European Union Parliament building. Photo: EU

Brussels, May 24 (MNN) The European Union will discuss the forced diversion of Ryanair flight to Minsk and arrest of a journalist, and also consider the action’s consequences, including steps against those responsible, the Council of EU said on Monday.

It said the Belarusian authorities, in an inadmissible step, forced a civilian plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk on May 23.

“The plane, owned by an EU company, flying between two EU capitals and carrying more than 100 passengers, was forced to land by a Belarusian military aircraft. One of the flight passengers, Raman Pratasevich, an independent journalist from Belarus, was retained by the Belarusian authorities and prevented from boarding the plane at the Minsk airport to its original destination.

“This is yet another blatant attempt by the Belarusian authorities to silence all opposition voices.”

The Council also called for the immediate release of Pratasevich.

“In carrying out this coercive act, the Belarusian authorities have jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew.

“An international investigation into this incident must be carried out to ascertain any breach of international aviation rules.”

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