Lukashenko’s regime has been accused of having the Ryanair flight diverted to Minsk under the guise of a bomb threat.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko his support on Friday in the midst of the authoritarian leader’s clash with the West over the grounding of a Ryanair flight and subsequent arrest of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich on Sunday.
Lukashenko’s regime has been accused of having the Ryanair flight diverted to Minsk under the guise of a bomb threat in a bid to arrest the journalist, an outspoken opponent of Belarus’s leadership.
Despite widespread international condemnation of the incident, Putin, a close ally of Lukashenko’s, gave the Belarusian leader his backing as he welcomed him for talks in Sochi.
The Russian leader said he agreed that the West’s response to the incident on Sunday was an “outburst of emotion”, according to Reuters.
“At one time they forced the Bolivian president’s plane to land and took him out of the plane and nothing, silence,” said Putin, in a reference to a 2013 incident that saw Evo Morales’ plane forced to land in Austria amid efforts to track down whistleblower Edward Snowden.