RIGA - The forced landing and seizing of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius by Belarusian authorities which was carrying former editor-in-chief of Belarusian opposition media Next and exiled opposition activist Roman Protasevich is in contradiction with international law, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) posted on his Twitter account today.
"This is completely unacceptable. The plane and all its passengers must be released immediately and they must continue on their way to their destination. The international response must be strong and effective," the minister said.
He also added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently gathering information whether Latvian citizens are on the Ryanair flight FR4978 Athens-Vilnius, which was forcibly landed in Minsk. "We will offer them support if necessary," the minister stressed.
The AFP meanwhile reports that top European Union officials warned Belarus on Sunday that it would be held responsible for the fate of a flight diverted to Minsk and demanded all passengers be released.
"We hold the government of Belarus responsible for the security of all passengers and the aircraft," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted.
"ALL passengers must be able to continue their travel immediately," he said, implicitly demanding the release of exiled opposition activist Roman Protasevich.