Washington DC [US], May 25 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) welcomed the European Union's call for sanctions against Belarus over the Ryanair flight's emergency landing and he has instructed his administration to craft options to hold Minsk accountable.
"I welcome the news that the European Union has called for targeted economic sanctions and other measures, and have asked my team to develop appropriate options to hold accountable those responsible, in close coordination with the European Union, other allies and partners, and international organizations," Biden said in a statement.
Biden said that Belarus's forced diversion of a commercial Ryanair flight, and subsequent removal and arrest of Raman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist traveling abroad, are a direct affront to international norms.
The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms both the diversion of the plane and the subsequent removal and arrest of Pratasevich, he added.
"This outrageous incident and the video Mr. Pratasevich appears to have made under duress are shameful assaults on both political dissent and the freedom of the press. The United States joins countries around the world in calling for his release, as well as for the release of the hundreds of political prisoners who are being unjustly detained by the Lukashenka regime," the US President added.
This statement comes after leaders of the member states urged the European Council to adopt the necessary measures to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines, prevent access to EU airports of Belarusian flights, and called on all EU-based carriers to avoid overflight of Belarus.
On Sunday, Irish airline Ryanair said in a statement that its flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was notified by Belarusian authorities of "a potential security threat onboard" and was "instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk." Later, it turned out to be a complete farce. (ANI)