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Home / World / Alexander Lukashenko accuses scribe of plotting rebellion

Alexander Lukashenko accuses scribe of plotting rebellion

US and European leaders are seeking ways to increase the isolation of the Belarusian President, who has shrugged off previous rounds of western sanctions
Roman Protasevich
Roman Protasevich
File Picture

Reuters   |   Moscow   |   Published 27.05.21, 01:55 AM

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday a journalist pulled off a plane that landed in Minsk had been plotting a bloody rebellion, and accused the West of waging a hybrid war against him.

In his defiant remarks, his first in public since he ordered a warplane to intercept a Ryanair flight between EU members Greece and Lithuania, he showed no hint of backing down from confrontation with countries that accuse him of air piracy.

“As we predicted, our ill-wishers from outside the country and from inside the country changed their methods of attack on the state,” Lukashenko, 66, told parliament. “They have crossed many red lines and have abandoned common sense and human morals.”

Belarus has already been subject to EU and US sanctions since Lukashenko cracked down on pro-democracy protests after a disputed election last year. But his decision to intercept an international airliner flying through his country’s air space and arrest a 26-year-old dissident journalist has brought a new level of condemnation and vows of far more serious action.

The journalist, Roman Protasevich, whose social media feed from exile had been one of the last remaining independent sources of news about Belarus, was shown on state TV on Monday confessing to organising demonstrations. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the footage “distressing” and Belarus opposition figures said it was proof he had been tortured.

Late on Tuesday, state TV broadcast a similar confession video of Sophia Sapega, a 23-year-old student arrested with Protasevich.

Belarus denies it mistreats detainees.

The US and European leaders are seeking ways to increase the isolation of Lukashenko, who has shrugged off previous rounds of western sanctions, which mostly consist of placing officials on black lists.

The West is also wary of upsetting Moscow, which regards Belarus as a strategically important buffer.



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