European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says ‘hijacking must be sanctioned’ ahead of EU leaders’ meeting on Monday

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has joined European leaders in condemning Belarus for forcing a Ryanair flight carrying an opposition activist to land in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

European leaders – some of whom have already denounced the move to arrest blogger Roman Protasevich as an “act of state terror and kidnapping” – will meet on Monday to discuss what action could be taken against Belarus, for forcing the plane’s diversion during its flight from Athens to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

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