The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning the act of state hijacking of the Ryanair aircraft: “We call for the immediate release of the aircraft and all passengers.”
A new statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry said:
“Greece strongly condemns the act of state hijacking that took place today and led to the forced landing in Minsk (Belarus) of a Ryanair FR 4978 aircraft, flying on the Athens-Vilnius route, in Minsk, Belarus. The plane carried 171 passengers, 11 of whom were Greek citizens. This act, which endangers the lives of all passengers, is unacceptable. We call for the immediate release of the aircraft and all passengers to reach their final destination.
We condemn the illegal arrest of the Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich, who faces the death penalty. Mr. Protasevich was a member of the delegation of the Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, who recently attended the Delphic Forum. For Greece, the protection of basic values such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights is a matter of principle. We believe that such practices, dating back to other times and not suitable for any civilized state, should not remain unanswered. The Greek side is in close cooperation with other EU member states and expects that this issue will be carefully considered at the upcoming European Council. “
The first statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry, published earlier on twitter, said:
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in constant contact with the relevant services and European partners regarding the plane that was flying on the Athens-Vilnius route and made an emergency landing in Minsk. Our main concern is the safety of all passengers. “
Formerly “Russian Athens” reportedthat suddenly changed course and urgently landed at the Minsk airport a Boeing 737-8AS of Ryanair, which is making a flight from Athens to Vilnius. On board was Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the Telegram channel recognized as extremist in Belarus.
The plane did not reach the Lithuanian border for several tens of kilometers, when, allegedly, the pilots informed the ground services about the bomb planted in the liner. The President of Belarus personally gave the order to send the plane for landing at the Minsk airport, although the flight to it was farther than to Vilnius. At the same time, a MiG-29 fighter flew into the sky to escort the Raynair plane to the airport.
On board was Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the Telegram channel recognized as extremist in Belarus. The telegram channel, which is used to publish messages from the GUBOPiK of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, confirmed the information that Protasevich was indeed detained in Minsk.
At the moment, according to RIA Novosti, the airliner flew from Minsk to Vilnius.