NEWS

Greek Foreign Ministry: Plane diversion is ‘state hijacking’

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Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement strongly condemning the forced diversion of a Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight to Minsk, Belarus.

Here is the full statement:

Greece strongly condemns the state hijacking that took place today and resulted in the forced landing of Ryanair FR 4978, which operated the Athens-Vilnius route, in Minsk, Belarus.

The plane had a total of 171 passengers on board, 11 of whom are Greek citizens. This act, which endangered the lives of all passengers, is unacceptable.

We call for the immediate release of the aircraft and all passengers so they can reach their final destination.

We condemn the illegal arrest of the Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich, who is threatened with the death penalty.

Mr Protasevich was part of a delegation led by Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who recently attended the Delphi Forum.

For Greece, defending fundamental values such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights is a matter of principle.

We believe that similar practices, which hark back to other times and which are not appropriate for any civilized state, should not go unanswered.

The Greek side is in close coordination with the other EU Member States and expects that this issue will be thoroughly addressed at the forthcoming European Council.