Russian Federation has said it is still too early to comment on the Ryanair incident, while accusing Western countries of hypocrisy and noting that a Bolivian presidential plane was diverted to Austria in 2013 after reports it was carrying US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Ryanair Flight FR4978, originating in Athens, was diverted in Belarusian airspace about 10 kilometers from Vilnius, Lithuania - its planned destination - because of an alleged bomb threat.
The EU and the United States imposed several rounds of financial sanctions against Minsk previous year, which had no effect on the behaviour of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who withstood mass demonstrations against his rule after a disputed election.
Air France, Finnair and Singapore Airlines on Tuesday became the latest carriers to suspend flights over Belarus, following Scandinavian airline SAS, Germany's Lufthansa and Latvia-based regional airline Air Baltic.
"We, the Soldiers of Hamas, demand Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip", the message read by Sikorsky began, going on to demand the European Union stop supporting Israel.
Lithuanian authorities said five passengers never arrived, suggesting three others besides detainees Protasevich and Sapega had disembarked in Minsk. They also accepted calls to urge airlines to no longer fly over Belarus and for Belarus' airlines to be banned from flying in Europe.
Airport personnel and security forces are seen on the tarmac in front of a Ryanair flight which was forced to land in Minsk, Belarus May 23, 2021.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has deemed the event "state hijacking" and Ireland and France have characterized it as piracy amid mounting worldwide outrage.
"This was a clear attack on democracy and the freedom of the press", Trudeau said of this weekend's events.
The 30-nation military organization's ambassadors are meeting later Tuesday and will discuss the episode.
The EU, as well as the United States, called on Lukashenko's government to immediately release Raman Pratasevich, a 26-year-old blogger who has been living in exile in Poland. He called the diversion of the plane an "inadmissible step". He said that Pratasevich's brief appearance on Belarus state television Monday night "was not reassuring, given the apparent bruising to his face, and the strong likelihood that his appearance was not voluntary and his "confession" to serious crimes was forced".
"This astonishing episode constitutes a new phase in the Belarusian authorities campaign of repression against journalists and civil society in general", Colville said.
Pratasevich, who left Belarus in 2019 and ran a popular messaging app that played a key role in helping organize huge protests against Lukashenko, has been charged in absentia with staging mass riots and fanning social hatred. Those charges carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
With a file from The Associated Press.
"I saw this Belarusian guy with girlfriend sitting right behind us".
Lukashenko won his sixth term in the August election, claiming 80% of the votes, although many in the country accused him of rigging the vote.
During the months of protests that followed, more than 34,000 people were arrested in Belarus, and thousands were brutally beaten.
"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", Biden added in his statement.