Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is looking at further sanctions against Belarus in response to its arrest of a journalist over the weekend, just as the autocratic regime announced that it is closing its embassy in Ottawa.
In a sign that tensions remained high, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described the Ryanair flight's diversion as "dangerous and unacceptable" and welcomed the European Union response. This was a clear attack on democracy and on the freedom of the press. There is no doubt that he was tortured.
The videos follow Belarusian authorities taking the extraordinary measure of diverting to Minsk a Ryanair flight carrying the couple on Sunday. Belarus says it was responding to a bomb scare that later proved to be a false alarm. It represents a danger to civilian flights everywhere, and it is an egregious and extraordinary departure from the global law and practice that guides worldwide civil aviation under the Chicago convention.
One Lithuanian official told Reuters that the three passengers who disembarked included two Belarusian citizens and one Greek citizen.
It follows Monday's announcement that the European Union and the United Kingdom would issue new sanctions against Belarus in light of the arrest, with Mr Shapps instructing the Civil Aviation Authority to request airlines avoid Belarusian air space "to keep passengers safe".More news: Australia's Victoria state reports four COVID-19 cases, source unknown
Air France, Finnair and Singapore Airlines became the latest carriers to suspend flights over Belarus, following Scandinavian airline SAS, Germany's Lufthansa and Latvia-based regional airline airBaltic.
The EU leaders also directed officials to draw up unspecified new sanctions against Belarus, and to work out a way to ban Belarusian airlines from the bloc's skies.
Lukashenko, whose security services crushed months of pro-democracy demonstrations a year ago after an election opponents said was rigged, has so far shrugged off Western sanctions, which mostly consist of blacklists barring various officials from travelling or doing business in the United States and EU.
Belarusian authorities then arrested blogger Raman Pratasevich, accusing him of inciting massive rallies last summer against Lukashenko's assertion of a landslide victory in last August's election, in which he won a sixth term as the country's leader with a claimed 80% of the vote.
Tikhanovskaya called for "comprehensive" global measures to force the regime to give up power.More news: European Union to cut air links with Belarus following flight diversion incident
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said the incident was a "state-sponsored hijacking" and claimed agents from Russia's KGB were on board the flight. The 26-year-old dissident fled Belarus in 2019 over fear of arrest, but continued to criticize Lukashenko while in exile.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that Sapega, a 23-year-old student, could face criminal charges under several articles of the Belarusian criminal code. Lukashenko has denied electoral fraud.
"I can state that I don't have any health issues, including diseases of the heart or any other organs". Discussing whether the U.S. believed Russian Federation played a role in the forced landing and arrest of Protasevich, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said, "I did not give any indication that we had that view yesterday, and that has not changed".
A number of his allies swiftly wrote on social media that the video was evidence that he was under coercion.More news: Local Pharmacist Ready to Complete AstraZeneca Vaccinations More