Airlines Avoid Belarusian Airspace over Plane Diversion, Arrest of Journalist


He also threatened to retaliate against European Union sanctions by weakening Belarusian border controls that help halt westbound illegal migration and drug traffic. "That's why they switched from organizing riots to trying to strangle us".

Sofia Sapega, the Russian student arrested alongside Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, appeared in a video overnight while in detention in Minsk, allegedly "confessing" to working for a social media channel that publishes personal data of government employees. They agreed to draft more sanctions on officials linked to the diversion and ones targeting businesses that are the main cash earners for Lukashenko's regime.

Airlines rerouted flights to avoid Belarus' airspace on Tuesday and Belarusian planes faced a possible ban from Europe, as global outrage mounted over Minsk forcing down a jetliner and arresting a dissident journalist on board.

The Kremlin on Wednesday said it has "no reason" to doubt Minsk claims that the bomb threat came from Hamas or Switzerland.

'How were we supposed to act, ' he asked. "Police officers are treating me properly and according to the law", he says.

He is said to have volunteered as a photographer and worked in a press capacity for the organisation. I really hope that the global community will stand up.

'Our ill-wishers from outside and inside the country have changed the methods of attacking the state, ' he told lawmakers.

"They crossed numerous red lines, and also limits of reason and morale", Mr Lukashenko said.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) accused the U.S. and European Union of double standards on human rights, which it said they have previously used as the pretext for "dozens of imperialist interventions and wars". Everything must be done, so that it does not grow into a hot one'. "Please save him. They're going to kill him in there".

European Union meets to decide response to Belarus 'hijacking' of Ryanair plane
The United States "strongly condemned" the arrest, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for Protasevich's release. The government's main security agency in Belarus , called the KGB, placed Protasevich's name on a list of terrorists.

Lukashenko, whose security services crushed months of pro-democracy demonstrations previous year after an election opponents said was rigged, has so far shrugged off Western sanctions, which mostly consist of blacklists barring various officials from travelling or doing business in the United States and EU.

But he has only doubled down on repression, and more than 35,000 people have been arrested since the protests began, with thousands beaten.

He is now being held in Belarus on terrorism charges. "It's very hard for me", she said, her voice cracking.

But while western leaders are attempting to isolate and pressurize Lukashenko with sanctions, analysts said the short-term impact will be limited.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is looking at further sanctions against Belarus in response to its arrest of a journalist over the weekend, just as the autocratic regime announced that it is closing its embassy in Ottawa. He said that Pratasevich's brief appearance on Belarus state television Monday night "was not reassuring, given the apparent bruising to his face, and the strong likelihood that his appearance was not voluntary and his "confession" to serious crimes was forced".

'He doesn't mind being cut off from the rest of the world and he doesn't mind being totally reliant on Russian Federation, ' she said.

It highlighted the foiling of a recent coup attempt involving military forces in Belarus and a plan to assassinate Mr Lukashenko, saying they were "a reminder of interventions in Latin American countries".

'He has decided that remaining in power, the fate of his regime and probably his personal safety matters to him more than the rest of the country'.

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