Alexander Lukashenko has once again made headlines around t he world. This time they come at the expense of an opposition journalist who was illegally arrested after the hijacking of an Irish passenger plane.
A reported hijacking that in fact took place at the orders of Lukashenko simply because Lukashenko considers the opposition leader his arch-nemesis. That journalist has been identified as opp leader Raman Pratasevich who also runs a popular opposition website that for years has been critical of Lukashenko (who is the disputed President of Belarus.)
Ryanair the Irish airline involved maintains that it did not know what was going on and instead was misled over a fake bomb threat.
Airline officials who are cooperating with the European Union have since revealed that the Belarusian government illegally called in a fake bomb threat to the plane. It is unclear how they knew that Pratasevich was actually on the plane as that has not been publicly disclosed at this time. Ryanair has called it a gross “invasion of airline safety and outright piracy.” The alleged bomb threat was called to the plane and then the plane was diverted to Minsk where a fighter jet escorted said plane to a landing strip.
An arrest soon followed.
“We all on the plane had panicked because we thought we were going to crash,” Lithuanian passenger Raselle Grigoryeva tells ABC News. “This was a sudden dive, changing the altitude very drastically. It was very violent. I’ve never felt this on an airplane. Everybody was in shock.”
Biden is poised to have the ultimate test next month in Switzerland.
Both Biden and Lukashenko aren’t believed to have met before. Though next month, Biden is set to meet Lukashenko ‘s ally Vladamir Putin next month at a summit in Switzerland. The two likely will have testy conversations as Putin tends to lean more towards violent dictators rather than anything to do with the western world.
It is unclear if Lukashenko will be a topic of discussion in Switzerland.