Belarus Regime ‘Frightened,’ Says Opponent

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BRUSSELS—When authorities in Belarus diverted a Ryanair passenger jet to Minsk last month to arrest a dissident journalist who was aboard, their goal may have been to silence a troublesome government critic and send a message to others like him. Instead, believes opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, it was a panicked miscalculation by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko that has galvanized the West against him. “It was really a mistake,” Tsikhanouskaya said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The regime never crossed this red line before, of interfering in a European area. This hijacking touched all the European leaders because their citizens were on this flight.” The European Union, the United States, Britain, and Canada joined together Monday to impose sanctions on several Belarus officials and organizations in response to the May 23 diversion of the Ryanair flight, which was traveling from Greece to Lithuania but was forced to land in …

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