NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson supported a tough response to the Belarusian authorities for the actions that led to the arrest of an opposition journalist.
Speaking at a joint press conference in London, which was held at the residence of the British Prime Minister, Stoltenberg said that the forced landing of a civilian plane and the arrest of a journalist on board the airliner, carried out by the Belarusian authorities last month, is a violation of international norms and rules. He called for the immediate release of Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapieha.
Stoltenberg said he welcomed the sanctions imposed on Minsk by the UK, the European Union, and other NATO allies. Johnson added that it is now important to make sure that these sanctions are fully implemented, and possibly strengthen them. The British Prime Minister called the incident “appalling and outrageous,” stressing the importance of joint actions of the allies against the Belarusian authorities.
30 NATO member states issued a short statement on Wednesday condemning the actions of official Minsk but did not include a reference to sanctions in the final text of the resolution, which was called for, in particular, by the Baltic States and Poland. Stoltenberg said that this issue will definitely be discussed at the NATO summit, which will be held on June 14 in Brussels.