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Political leaders outraged as Belarus ‘forces’ Ryanair 737 diversion to Minsk

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has described as “utterly unacceptable” an incident in which a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk, apparently to enable Belarusian authorities to detain a political activist. ( More...

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Belarus officials started out with making a bomb threat against the passenger the passenger airliner. When the flight crew determined landing at their destination was their best option as it was the closest appropriate place to land, Belarus sent two armed fighter jets to force the aircraft to an airport in Minsk (a hijacking). They then arrested a single passenger on the aircraft, a journalist who had been reporting on state sponsored violence by Belarus against its own citizens.

In Belarus, any journalist who offends that nation's leaders is considered a terrorist, subject to summary execution.

This is a textbook case of state sponsored terrorism, in this case both the bomb threat and use of their military as a credible threat to hijack the aircraft to a destination preferred by Belarus officials so they could remove and arrest the journalist.

State sponsored terrorism is an act of war, in this case against the origin and destination nations, the nation where the airline is a flagged carrier, and nations whose citizens were on board the flight in question.

At minimum, the FAA and ICAO should ban flights through, into, and out of Belarus, as well as any Belarus flagged aircraft outside of Belarus. Sufficient time should be allowed for Belarus flagged aircraft to return to Belarus. Any that do not should be grounded.

As this is an act of war by Belarus, any further action is up to the effected nations, NATO, and the EU. Belarus should be considered hostile airspace of a rogue nation.


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