Ukraine calls on Belarus to release Roman Protasevich

The Ukrainian Parliament adopted a statement regarding the incident with the forced landing of the Ryanair plane in Minsk, which occurred on May 23.

In the statement, the Ukrainian parliament strongly condemns the actions of the Belarusian authorities to divert the Ryanair flight and the arrest OF the Belarusian opposition journalist, Roman Protasevich.

The Parliament called for the immediate release of Roman Protasevich and all political prisoners, an end to the torture used by the Belarusian security forces against detainees, and respect for human rights in accordance with international obligations.

The Ukrainian Parliament also called the forced landing of the plane an "unacceptable act" and called on the International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate it immediately.

In addition, MPs expressed their full support for the actions of the Ukrainian government to ban air traffic between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus and strengthen sanctions against Belarusian airlines.

The incident with the Ryanair plane, which was flying from Athens to Vilnius, occurred on the afternoon of May 23. The Minsk airport authorities claim the airliner requested a landing because of a bomb threat. The airline said that the crew received information about an explosive device on board from the Belarusian air traffic controllers, who gave instructions to land the plane in Minsk. A MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Belarusian Air Force was sent to escort the passenger plane.

The Ryanair plane was at the Minsk airport for more than five hours, but during this time no dangerous objects were found on board. However, the Belarusian security forces removed Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the Telegram channel Nexta, from the flight. Nexta actively covered rallies in Belarus after the presidential elections, which were held last August. Three criminal cases related to mass riots have been opened against the journalist in Belarus.

The European Union advised its airlines not to fly over the territory of Belarus, after Minsk diverted the Ryanair flight to arrest the founder of NEXTA, Roman Protasevich.

More than 12 airlines, including KLM, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways, have refused to fly over Belarus.

  Belarus, Ukraine, Protasevich