NATO calls forced Ryanair landing a ‘serious and dangerous incident’

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NATO said the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk was a “serious and dangerous incident”, saying it required an international investigation.

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“The Belarusian authorities must ensure the safe return of the crew and all passengers to Vilnius,” a spokesperson said.

“We are closely monitoring the forcible landing in Belarus of a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius, and the reported detention of opposition figure Roman Protasevich,” the NATO spokesperson added.

Lithuania on called for European Union countries to jointly recommend that planes avoid Belarusian airspace, after a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk and an opposition activist on board detained.

The proposal for a joint declaration will be put forward at a meeting of European leaders on Monday and will include a call to recognize the incident as a violation of International Civil Aviation organization rules, the foreign ministry said.

Lithuania has also asked its EU allies to summon Belarusian ambassadors and to protest against the use of military aircraft to divert planes.

“This is a brutal affront against all (the) EU,” Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a statement.

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