British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Belarus that the country’s actions would “have consequences” after releasing a video of the arrest of dissident Rome Protasevic, who said Johnson was “extremely painful.”
In a video released by Belarusian authorities on Monday night, Protasevic seemed to admit that he was involved in organizing a large-scale protest in Minsk last year.
A 26-year-old activist, journalist, and prominent Lukashenko critic sat down at the table with his hands folded forward and spoke quickly, he was in satisfactory health, and his treatment in custody was “maximum correct.” , Followed the law. ” “
“Roman Protasevich’s video can be very painful to watch,” Johnson wrote. Tweet on Tuesday.
“I am a journalist and a keen believer in freedom of speech, and I want his immediate release,” he writes.
“Belarus actions will bring results.”
Johnson’s comment came after one of the cabinet ministers said there was reason to suspect that Protasevic’s remarks were “voluntarily provided.”
“I don’t think it’s surprising [if the statement had been coerced].. But I’m not in a position to tell you exactly if our up-to-date information is being enforced, “Department for Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told Sky News.
“But I can say that the actions of the Belarusian administration can never be considered that this statement was voluntarily provided,” she said.
Protasevic and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Russian student Sophia Sapega, were arrested after Ryanair’s flight from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania, was ordered to land in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
The Irish airline said the Belarusian flight controller had told the crew that there was a bomb threat to the plane, and the Belarusian MiG-29 fighter was scrambled to escort the plane.
Britain instructed the Civil Aviation Authority on Monday to ask airlines to “keep passengers safe” while avoiding Belarusian airspace, shortly after the European Union filed a proceeding.
Both the UK and the EU have summoned their respective Belarusian ambassadors and said they would consider further sanctions.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said sanctions could include a shutdown of the energy pipeline in Belarus.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the EU’s decision to consider sanctions on Monday and said he had ordered the administration to “develop appropriate options to hold responsible persons accountable.”
Mr Raab said on Monday that the situation was unclear, but it was unbelievable that the incident happened “at least without the acquiescence of Moscow authorities.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the idea on Tuesday, ascribed to anti-Russian sentiment.
Peskov added that Moscow wants to be released soon if Sapega does not violate the law.
With the exception of Protasevich and Sapega, three other passengers left the plane in Minsk on Sunday. The first unproven claim from Belarusian activists that the three passengers were Russian passport holders turned out to be false.
A Lithuanian official told Reuters that the three passengers disembarking in Minsk included two Belarusian citizens and one Greek citizen.
Ivan Pentchoukov, PA, and Reuters contributed to this report.