Belarus Intercepts, Forces Plane with Dissident Onboard to Land

A Ryan Air flight was intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet over the country’s airspace on Sunday. The aircraft was then ordered to land in Minsk, the Belarusian capitol. The flight was told there was a bomb threat. There, a journalist, Roman Protasevich, and his traveling companion, who were aboard, were seized. The action has been condemned by officials around the world, especially by Europeans, who compared it to hijacking. The head of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, said the act constituted “a state-sponsored hijacking.”

Roman Protasevich, the detained journalist aboard the Ryanair flight.

The aircraft was flying over Belarus in Belarus airspace, when Belarusian air traffic controllers notified the flight’s pilots of  “a potential security threat on board.” They were directed to divert to Minsk, Ryanair said in a statement. The flight was on the ground for about seven hours before being allowed to continue its journey with all passengers except the journalist, Roman Protasevich.