A Ryanair flight traveling from Greece to Lithuania has been diverted to Belarus – where authorities boarded the aircraft and arrested a Belarusian activist who was on board
Journalist Roman Protasevich. was living in exile from Belarus and is a vocal critic of the country’s President and his regime.
The Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed just moments ago that the activist was detained at Minsk airport, the nation’s main international hub.
In a statement, Ryanair says the flight was informed of a “potential security threat onboard” by Belarus air traffic control and was ordered to make an emergency landing.
Roman Protasevich is the founder of the Telegram channel Nexta – which is often used to criticise Belarusian leaders and organise anti-government protests.
The President of the country has been in power since 1994, and was inaugurated into office for his sixth term last year – an election that the European Union says was not legitimate.
World leaders call for international investigation
Leaders and government officials from different parts of the world have now spoken out following the arrest of Protasevich.
There has been a joint call of condemnation from Ireland, UK, US, Poland, Germany, Czechia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken also slammed Belarusian officials.
U.S. stocks plunge – markets have biggest daily drop in 2 years
U.S. markets have had their biggest daily drop in almost two years, as investors evaluate the impacts of higher prices on earnings and the possibility of monetary policy tightening
The S&P 500 dropped by 4 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell the most amongst other major benchmarks.
Meanwhile, retailer Target down was down more than 20 points in its worst performance since 1987, and Apple and Amazon.com both slid.
The U.S. dollar rose against all Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc.
The S&P is slowly emerging from its longest slump since 2011, but rebounds are fragile amid tightening policy, the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.
It comes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns U.S. central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence inflation is in retreat.
Looking to other parts of the world, and Europe saw new-vehicle sales shrink for a 10th month in a row.
Over in the United Kingdom, inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher’s reign 40 years ago.
NATO ties – Sweden receives full backing from U.S.
Just days after announcing its intentions to join NATO, Sweden has received full backing from the United States.
U.S. Defence Secretary Llyod Austin welcomed his Swedish counterpart to the Pentagon, in a show of solidarity between the two nations.
Austin says the United States says Sweden’s membership to the alliance will make all member nations safer and more secure.
Both Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the strategic alliance on Wednesday, but still face objections from Turkey.
The whole membership process is expected to take just a few weeks, but ratification by all allied parliaments could take up to a year.
It signifies one of the most significant shake-ups of European security architecture not seen since the Cold War.
The two nations remained neutral throughout this period in history, despite Finland sharing a 1,300 kilometre border with Russia.
Sweden says Russian propaganda can no longer hide the nation’s war crimes… and believes now more than ever, democracies must stand together against Moscow’s increasing aggression.
NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg says this is an historic moment which must be seized, warmly requesting the requests from both meetings at the alliance headquarters.
Both Sweden and Finland handed over their application letters, each envelope embossed with their national flag.
Zelensky extends Ukraine’s martial law by 90 days
With the war in Ukraine showing little to no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Volodymyr Zelensky has moved to extend his nation’s martial law by 90 days
The required documents have now been sent to the Ukrainian parliament for consideration, requiring approval by at least half of all lawmakers.
The first round of martial law was initiated on February 24, the day Putin declared war over the country.
This marks the beginning of a new stage of the conflict, with Ukraine’s defence minister hoping to arm one million fighters – as the nation prepares for the long haul.
So what does a martial law ruling actually mean for Ukrainians?
Well, it gives those in positions of military leadership more power to intervene in the lives of civilians, introducing curfews, conducting searches of private property without notice and even banning travel.
Residents also lose a number of fundamental rights including the right to receive education, the right to work and freedom of movement.
Men aged between 18 and 60 have also been banned from leaving the country.
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