EU leaders condemn Ryanair flight diversion to Belarus

By Sarkaritel May 24, 2021 20:16

Brussels, May 24 European Union (EU) leaders have condemned the diversion of an Athens-Vilnius Ryanair flight to Minsk and warned possible sanctions against Belarus during the bloc’s summit scheduled for Monday.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus on May 23, 2021,” Xinhua news agency quoted European Council President Charles Michel as saying in a communique issued after the incident on Sunday.

Michel said that EU leaders will discuss this “unprecedented” incident on Monday.

“The incident will not remain without consequences,” he added.

The Irish airline Ryanair said that the flight FR4978 was directed to an airport in Minsk on Sunday as crew on the plane had been alerted to a possible security threat by Belarusian authorities, adding that nothing untoward was found.

The flight later took off and landed in the Lithuanian capital at 9.25 p.m. following the the detour.

“It is utterly unacceptable to force Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on her Twitter account.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said on Twitter that the event is “an unprecedented, shocking act”, calling for EU action to “step up pressure on Belarus. Enough is enough”.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda described Belarus’s actions as “abhorrent”, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that it is a serious interference in civil air traffic in Europe.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has also tweeted on Sunday that “this is a serious and dangerous incident which requires international investigation”.

By Sarkaritel May 24, 2021 20:16