Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Belarus
- The North Atlantic Council strongly condemns the forced diversion to Minsk, Belarus of a Ryanair flight between Athens and Vilnius on 23 May, as well as the removal from the diverted aircraft and arrest of Raman Pratasevich, a prominent Belarusian journalist travelling on board, and Sofia Sapega. This unacceptable act seriously violated the norms governing civil aviation and endangered the lives of the passengers and crew. We support calls for an urgent independent investigation, including by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). We support measures taken by Allies individually and collectively in response to this incident.
- The detention of Mr. Pratasevich is an affront to the principles of political dissent and freedom of the press. Belarus must immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Pratasevich and Ms. Sapega. NATO Allies call on Belarus to respect fundamental human rights and freedoms, and to abide by the rules-based international order. Allies stand in solidarity with Latvia following the unjustified expulsion of Latvian diplomats.