All the World Leaders Who Have Denounced Belarus So Far After Dissident Journalist Detained

Since the weekend, multiple world leaders have publicly denounced the Belarus government after it diverted a Ryanair plane to arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich.

On Monday, Protasevich, 26, appeared in a video shared to a pro-Belarus social media platform to state that he's cooperating with authorities.

"The attitude of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees towards me has been as correct as possible and in compliance with the law," he said in the video, as translated by CNN. "I continue to cooperate with the investigation and have confessed to organizing mass riots in the city of Minsk."

His supporters and family believe Protasevich made the video under duress.

Several world leaders have issued statements condemning Belarus' alleged human rights abuses.

Roman Protasevich protests
Multiple world leaders have publicly denounced the Belarus regime as of Tuesday after its actions had a plane grounded and dissident journalist Roman Protasevich arrested and likely tortured. This image shows protestors holding pictures of President Alexander Lukashenko, the detained journalist Roman Protasevich and Protasevich's detained Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega during a demonstration in front of the European Commission office in Warsaw, Poland on May 24, 2021. WOJTEK RADWANSKI/Getty

EU leaders at a summit on Monday condemned the arrest and agreed to impose new sanctions on Belarus. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said "Lukashenka and his regime will face severe consequences."

In a tweet on Monday, Leyen said that in addition to closing their skies to the nation, the EU will be releasing details of new economic sanctions on Belarus soon.

U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to hold the Belarusian government "to account" in a statement Monday night, adding that he was joining the "many calls for an international investigation."

The president called it an "outrageous incident." He also said the plane grounding, arrest, and "the video Mr. Protasevich appears to have made under duress are shameful assaults on both political dissent and the freedom of the press."

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, "The behavior of the Belarus regime is outrageous, illegal and completely unacceptable ... we also condemn this kind of dangerous interference in civil aviation." He also noted that Canada was considering whether or not to tighten existing sanctions.

"Canada has existing sanctions in place against Belarus," Trudeau said, "and will be examining further options."

In response, Belarus announced Tuesday it will be closing its embassy in Canada.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wanted to go even farther than sanctions saying, "Today we are at the limit of what sanctions policies can achieve." Macron suggested inviting the Belarusian opposition leader to the Group of Seven summit in the UK next month, but so far the UK has not agreed.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet, "The video of Roman Protasevich makes for deeply distressing viewing. As a journalist and a passionate believer in freedom of speech I call for his immediate release. Belarus' actions will have consequences."

The video of Roman Protasevich makes for deeply distressing viewing.

As a journalist and a passionate believer in freedom of speech I call for his immediate release.

Belarus' actions will have consequences.

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 25, 2021

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Belarus' excuse for grounding the plane "completely implausible."

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the incident "aviation piracy, state-sponsored," telling Raidió Teilifís Éireann that sanctions on Belarus with a "real edge" were necessary.

When it comes to Belarus, "nobody is safe," Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on Monday.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid tweeted Monday, "All passengers kidnapped in #Minsk must be released and the Belarusian regime must be made accountable by imposing more sanctions. Overflights by EU airlines must be suspended."

Several international airlines have now officially shunned Belarusian airspace after President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the plane Protasevich and his girlfriend were flying on to be intercepted under false pretenses and grounded in Minsk, where the journalist was arrested.

Belarusian state media claims Lukashenko was responding to a bomb threat from Hamas that was later proven to be false. Hamas has denied any involvement in the incident.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency, has said the incident might be in violation of the 1944 Chicago Convention, a treaty governing aviation.

Update (5/25/2021, 11:15 p.m.): This article has been updated to include statements by Macron and Kaljulaid.