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Lukashenko arrested two journalists: Ryanair talks about KGB agents on board – foreign policy

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Michael O’Leary, president of Ryanair, spoke of a „state-funded hijacking” after an emergency landing of an airline plane in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

On the orders of the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko (66 years old), Ryanair plane had to land in Minsk on Sunday on its way to Vilnius (Lithuania).

Also on the ship: the journalist and critic of the regime Roman Protasiewicz (26 years old) who fled Belarus – at the top of Lukashenko’s international wanted list!


Journalist Roman ProtaswitchPhoto: STRINGER / REUTERS

„This was a case of a government-funded hijacking … government-funded piracy,” the Ryanair CEO now spoke to, „chief airline O’Leary told”Newstalk„.

I can’t say much about this issue at the moment because the European Union and NATO are working on it right now. We take care of our crew who did a great job. I took the plane and almost all the passengers out of Minsk after six hours. „

O’Leary said that the accident was „very frightening” for the passengers and crew, as they were detained at gunpoint and their luggage was searched.

„It appears that the authorities’ intention was to take a journalist and his companions out of the plane … We believe that some KGB agents were unloaded at the airport,” O’Leary said.

Not understood: In order to force the plane to land, the Minsk Flight Control Center threatened the pilots to shoot down the plane. A MiG-29 fighter jet armed with missiles rose to force the aircraft to turn around and hit the ground.

When regime critic Roman Protaswitch realized the plane was heading towards Minsk, he reportedly put his head in his hands in despair. According to blogger raselle_gr sitting on the plane, Protasevic told a flight attendant, „Don’t do that. They’ll kill me, I’m a refugee.”

After landing, the opposition was immediately arrested by security forces. Protasevic’s last words after Lukashenko’s henchmen threw his belongings on the runway: „They will execute me.”

Protasevic’s friend, Sophia Sabega, appears to have been arrested as well.

The law student was arrested on her way to Vilnius, where she was supposed to defend her master’s thesis „under unfounded pretexts,” the European Humanitarian University (EHU) reported Monday. It demanded consular support and the immediate release of the Russian citizen.

Minsk denies the threat claims, insisting instead on its own version: according to this, there was a bomb on board, and the stop in Minsk was a safety measure by the pilot. After landing, it turned out that there was no explosive device on board.

Late in the evening, footage surfaced of what was happening at Minsk Airport. Show: The passengers were only allowed to leave the plane one by one and slowly, many of them had to wait in the plane. Funny: because, according to the Minsk version, there was supposed to be a bomb there …

Ryanair flight FR4978 was on its way between European Union member states Greece (Athens) and Lithuania (Vilnius) when the pilot sent an emergency code „Squak 7700” while flying through Belarusian airspace.

After eight hours of delay, a passenger plane with more than 100 people on board managed to continue its flight from Minsk and landed in Vilnius at 9.25 pm.

According to BILD information, Protasewitsch was in Athens on a business trip before the trip to allow the leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tishanovskaya (38 years old) to attend the Delphi Forum (May 10-15).

Rolandas Kacinskas, Ambassador of Lithuania to Athens, on BILD: “What happened on the plane is an unprecedented attack on the international community with great danger to all passengers who have been taken hostage. The European Union and the international community must act now.”

The accident caused outrage and protest across Europe. Prominent EU politicians have now called for the passengers to be released and have threatened a backlash from the European Union.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (54, SPD) He stated in a press release that he was „concerned” about Protasevic’s arrest. „Such action cannot continue without clear consequences on the part of the European Union.” The European Council has to deal with the incident. „In any case, Belarus must immediately guarantee the security, safety and freedom of all passengers, and release Roman Protasiewicz,” Mas said.

External expert Norbert Rutgen (55, CDU) He was sharper in his choice of words, and spoke of an „incredible case of state terrorism.”

▶ ︎ too European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (62) He spoke clearly describing the incident as a „kidnapping.” „Those responsible for the hijacking of the Ryanair plane must be punished,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening. It demands the immediate release of the journalist.

After Ryanair landed in Belarus in Vilnius, the Lithuanian authorities opened an investigation. According to the Vilnius Prosecutor’s Office, a preliminary investigation into the hijacking of a plane has been opened.

For this purpose, interviews with passengers and crew are also required. „We also expect them to work with law enforcement agencies and provide our officers with all the information they know,” said Prime Minister Ingrida Simonetti, according to BNS, after meeting passengers at Vilnius Airport.

Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. Last year, he violently suppressed mass protests against his official reelection in August. According to human rights groups, the authorities have since arrested around 35,000 people. According to the authorities, more than 1,000 lawsuits were opened against the protesters.

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Only agree to surrender: This is how Turkey blackmails the West in the NATO conflict – Politics

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Recep Zarakulu has been an enemy of the Turkish state for half a century. After the military coup of 1971, the 74-year-old appeared in court for the first time – due to contacts with Amnesty International.

Zarakulu later co-founded the Turkish Association for Human Rights and published books on the Armenian Genocide and the Kurdish Question as a publisher.

Today, he is on a list of 40 alleged „terrorists” whose extradition Turkey has made a condition of Finland and Sweden agreeing to NATO membership. The Zaracolo case shows why Turkey has so far been unable to convince the West of its demands.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

Finnish and Swedish negotiators spoke for the first time about the NATO dispute with Turkish government officials in Ankara on Wednesday. Then Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for the Turkish presidential office and advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke about the positive attitude of the Nordic countries towards Turkey’s demand to lift the arms embargo imposed since 2019.

But Turkey is not satisfied with that. She is asking for tangible proof from Helsinki and Stockholm that they are moving away from The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is run as a terrorist organization. They also insist on handing over opponents of the Turkish government.

Zaracolo has lived in Sweden for ten years

According to Ankara, 28 people in Sweden and 12 in Finland on the Turkish list are dangerous enemies of the state and can be attributed to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, far-left groups or the movement of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told the Haberturk news channel that Turkey does not want to hear excuses such as referring to EU rules. Turkey’s demands must be met — even if Finland and Sweden have to change their laws to allow for deliveries.

The Turkish side accused Recep Zarakulu (here 2008), among other things, of supporting a violent coup.Photo: John McDougall/AFP

Zaracolo is watching developments from Sweden, where he has lived for nearly ten years. He told exiled radio station Ozguruz Radio that he did not believe he would be extradited.

Sweden’s highest court had refused to extradite him in 2019. Contrary to what is happening in Turkey, Zarakulu said, the government in Sweden has to abide by court decisions. Ankara might assume that the government in Stockholm can act like the Turkish government in its own country: by pressuring the judiciary to enforce its will.

Two years ago, I started new investigations

The Zaracolo case illustrates how far apart European countries and Turkey are in understanding the law. A human rights activist in Turkey should not be imprisoned for using or advocating violence.

He was convicted of giving a lecture at a legitimate Kurdish party. According to the Turkish judiciary, he was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization.

Two years ago, the Turkish Prosecutor General’s Office launched new investigations against him: In an article in the left-wing newspaper „Evrensel”, Zarakulu compared Erdogan to former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who was executed in 1961 after a military coup. . Prosecutors accused Zaracolo of calling for the article’s overturn to be violent.

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Zarakulu said in the interview that there was no legal basis for extradition – after talks in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan’s advisor Kalin said the exact opposite: there is no legal basis for refusing to extradite „terrorists”.

There is also a deceased person on the list

Bulent Kenes, the former editor-in-chief of a newspaper affiliated with the Gülen movement, is also on Turkey’s extradition list. He is accused of involvement in the 2016 coup attempt. Another opponent of the government, Kurdish politician and journalist Mehmet Sirak Bilgin, is on Turkey’s extradition list but died seven years ago.

the list It could potentially serve as a bargaining chip in modern poker, which Ankara could give up in exchange for concessions. The most important thing for Turkey is to end the arms embargo imposed on European countries. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has made it clear that her country does not send weapons or money to terrorist organizations.

The Turkish government accuses Sweden of supporting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria.

Erdogan’s veto threat prevents Finland and Sweden, which are seeking NATO protection because of Russia’s war against Ukraine, from easily joining NATO.

Turkey faces a lack of understanding on the part of its allies. Only Russia is benefiting from the conflict, the German ambassador to Turkey, Jürgen Schulz, said at a security conference in Istanbul. Christoph Heusgen, president of the Munich Security Conference, said at the event that Turkey could better solve its problems with Finland and Sweden after they joined NATO more than before.

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Russia plans to put gas profits in Ukraine attack

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The export of gas and other fuels brings Russia several billions of additional revenue. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said some of the money could be used in the Ukraine war.

Russia expects an additional income equivalent to 13.7 billion euros this year from the export of fossil fuels. „We expect up to an additional trillion rubles in oil and gas revenues,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state television on Friday, referring to the Economic Development Ministry’s latest forecast. Part of the extra income can be used to continue the Russian attack on Ukraine.

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He said the government wanted to spend the extra revenue this year rather than putting it aside. The finance minister said the money should be spent on „additional payments” to pensioners, families with children and „special operation” in Ukraine, citing Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Gas and oil have so far been excluded from sanctions

The West has imposed a series of sanctions on Moscow to punish the Kremlin for sending troops to Ukraine. So far, Russian oil and gas supplies have been exempted from sanctions. Russia is currently reaping record revenues due to the high price of gas.

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