Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has confirmed that it has expressed its strong protest to the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus over the diversion of flight FR4978 to Minsk.
On Monday 24 May 2021, the Director for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Olivier Maes, on behalf of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, called the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Brussels, accredited to Luxembourg, Aleksandr Mikhnevich, in order to express Luxembourg’s strong protest at the inadmissible step of the authorities of the Republic of Belarus, who forced a civilian plane (operated by Ryanair) carrying over 100 passenger, many of whom EU citizens, flying between Athens and Vilnius, to perform an emergency landing in Minsk and detained its passenger Raman Pratasevich, an independent Belarusian journalist and activist, as well as Mr Pratasevich’s friend Sofia Sapega, a student at the European Humanities University in Vilnius.
Ambassador Mikhnevich was informed of the firm condemnation by the European Union of the coercive act by which the Belarusian authorities jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew. The International Civil Aviation Organisation has expressed its strong concern regarding the incident, which could be in contravention of the Chicago Convention.
The Political Director conveyed the position of the European Union, which Luxembourg shares, that the incident constitutes another blatant attempt by the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to silence all opposition voices in Belarus, and called for the immediate release of Mr Pratasevich and his friend. In that context, he recalled Luxembourg’s support for the aspiration of the Belarusian people to freedom and democracy. Finally, he underlined that yesterday’s unacceptable act will be raised at today’s meeting of the European Council and that it cannot remain unanswered.