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Lukashenko 'doesn't care what international community thinks' says former ambassador

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A woman holds a poster reads "where is Raman Pratasevich?!" at the International Airport outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, May 23, 2021.
A woman holds a poster reads "where is Raman Pratasevich?!" at the International Airport outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, May 23, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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There is growing international outrage against Belarus for what's being described as the 'hijacking' of a passenger plane carrying an opposition activist. The RyanAir flight from Athens was diverted and forced to land in Minsk, where Roman Protasevich was detained.

The plane was then allowed to continue to its destination in Lithuania -- but the diplomatic fallout has only just begun -- with the US demanding Protasevich's release and European leaders set to discuss new sanctions when they meet in Brussels today.

Dr. Nigel Gould-Davies in London. He's a Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and also the former British Ambassador to Belarus. He told Euronews that he's "shocked and surprised" by Sunday's incident:

"I think he's sending a number of messages. The first is that he really doesn't care what the international community thinks. Second - an unintentional message if you like - is how insecure he feels. He went to enormous trouble in order to get a single, online journalist. That is how unconfident he is in his domestic support. And in addition to that, he's also sending the message that no one is safe from Belarusian oppression, even if they leave the country."

Listen to the full interview with Dr Nigel Gould-Davies by clicking on the media player above.