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August 18, 2022

NATO Deputy SecGen Geoana: Forced landing of Ryanair flight in Belarus, state-level piratery. We request release of Protasevich

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana stated, on Monday, that the forced landing last week of a civilian airplane in Belarus can be introduced in the “state-level piracy” category, appealing at the same time for the “immediate” release of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega.

“The North Atlantic Council condemned in strong, unequivocal terms the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Belarus last week. This forced landing of a civilian plane, with civilian passports, by Belarus, has jeopardized the lives of passengers and crew. This act is unacceptable and violated in the most serious manner all the norms that govern civil aviation. This gesture can be introduced in the category of state-level piracy. It’s an incident that shows us the way in which the Minsk regime opposes fundamental democratic principles and rights,” said Mircea Geoana, at the headquarters of the Multinational Division Command Southeast.

He added that NATO is in favor of an international inquiry in this case.

“We are, at the same time, able (…) to hail the decisions that the European Union adopted regarding this. The European Union has at its disposal diversified instruments, including of the economic sanction type. NATO does not have this type of instruments. And that’s why we’re in favor of an international inquiry, which would bring light and transparency to this incident,” mentioned the NATO Deputy Secretary General.

Mircea Geoana made an appeal for the “immediate” release of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega, but also other “political prisoners of Belarus.”

“Furthermore, we make an appeal to the authorities in Belarus to show full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of expression, including the fundamental right to peacefully protest for the causes that Belarus citizens embrace (…) all NATO allies support and will support a sovereign and independent Belarus,” said Geoana, according to Agerpres.

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