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U.S. calls for investigation into Ryanair flight diversion

Last weekend the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight ended with the arrest of a Belarusian dissident who was aboard the flight. On Monday, President Joe Biden called for an international investigation into the incident. According to the President, the U.S. condemned the arrest of Raman Pratasevich, the dissident journalist, and the plane’s diversion.

Biden stated that this outrageous incident and the video Mr. Pratasevich likely have made under strong duress are assaults on the freedom of the press and political dissent. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also called for an immediate international investigation before the President’s announcement.

Psaki noted that this was a shocking act of diverting a flight between two EU-member states for the purpose of arresting a journalist. Thus, it constitutes a brazen affront to international security and freedom by the regime. He demanded an immediate transparent, international, and credible, investigation of this incident.

The U.S. president has already asked his team to develop appropriate options to hold accountable, responsible parties in close coordination with the European Union, as well as other partners, allies, and international organizations.

Michael O’Leary called a state-sponsored hijacking to the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight to Belarus

The airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary stated that it appears authorities removed a journalist and his traveling companion from the plane. He added that the company believes there were also some KGB agents on board the flight.

The plane was flying from Greece to Lithuania, but a Belarusian fighter jet escorted it after reports that it had explosives on board. However, nothing was discovered. Instead, the diversion ended with the arrest of an opposition blogger – Roman Protasevich.

Several European leaders already called the incident “utterly unacceptable,” and they plan to discuss a response to it further today. Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney announced that it was state-sponsored aviation piracy.

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