Lukashenko power play forces Europe to take notice

The kidnapping of opposition dissident Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend from a Ryanair flight was the latest signal that the embattled Belarusian dictator will do whatever it takes to keep his regime in place

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s actions last week have elicited a strong response from European leaders. Picture: Getty

Just before he boarded Ryanair flight 4978 travelling from Athens to Vilnius last Sunday, Roman Protasevich knew something wasn’t right.

“He was sending messages just before the flight,” Franak Viačorka, a senior adviser to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader, and a friend of Protasevich, told the Business Post.

“He was uneasy and thought something was happening. He said somebody was watching him in the airport. Then a man came up to him and took ...