On Monday, May 24, a group of MEPs, including Irena Joveva, European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean sent a letter on the situation in Belarus. The signatories call for immediate action against the illegitimate regime of Alexander Lukashenko and the hijacking of the Ryanair FR4978, as well as the kidnapping and arrest of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapego.

The members of the Media Working Group in the European Parliament are pointing out in the letter that this is an act that can be qualified as terrorism under the auspices of the state. They strongly condemn Protasevich and his partner’s abduction and call on the addressees to their immediate release. In addition to their forcible arrest aboard an EU-registered aeroplane flying between two European Union capitals, the Lukashenko regime also illegally detained passengers and crew of the Ryanair FR4978 aeroplane. Furthermore, the Belarusian presidential press service has confirmed that Lukashenko has personally demanded the use of a Belarusian MiG-29 military fighter jet to escort an EU-registered passenger plane to the Minsk airport forcibly. This measure was carried out due to a false security request and has endangered the lives of all who were on board of the aircraft. The use of such dangerous intimidation techniques, the temporary detention of passengers and crewmembers on Belarusian territory, and the violent kidnapping and arrest of Protasevich and his partner are unacceptable, which is why the signatories call for action against those accountable for these acts.

The actions of the Belarusian regime are unprecedented and unendurable, as the Belarusian airspace can no longer be considered safe for European passenger aircraft. Therefore, the signatories call for the immediate cessation of flights over the Belarusian airspace, the termination of all air connections between the EU and Belarus, the immediate closure of EU airspace for all aircraft registered in Belarus, and the International Civil Aviation Organization to revoke Belarus’ membership. In addition, they call for an investigation into violations of international aviation rules and this outrageous piracy act.

The signatories believe that this act of state-sponsored terrorism was a brutal attack on the EU and has endangered the security of the EU and passengers as well as the crewmembers on an EU-registered passenger plane. This is illegal and outrageous piracy and kidnapping, which must be addressed with a strong and united European response in the form of extended sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko personally, as well as against all those accountable for these acts.

You can read the original letter (in English) at this LINK.


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