Western countries have condemned Belarus for diverting a plane flying over its territory to arrest a Belarusian opposition journalist. EU leaders were due to discuss their response to what the union’s executive called a “hijacking” and the US state department said was “a shocking act”. Belarus scrambled a fighter jet to force the plane – bound for Lithuania – to land, claiming a bomb threat. Police came and took Roman Protasevich away when passengers disembarked. Learn vocabulary to talk about the news.

Video chapters:
0:00​​​​​​​​​​​​ – Introduction
0:32​ – Story
2:27 – Headline 1:World leaders condemn Belarus for ‘hijacking’ Ryanair flight to arrest opposition activist
5:45 – Headline 2: AUS joins global outcry at Belarus over seizure of blogger from Ryanair flight
8:32 – Headline 3: Belarus forces emergency landing of Ryanair flight to arrest exiled journalist on board
10:04​​​​​​​​​​​​ – Language summary

The story
The Ryanair flight from Athens was approaching Lithuanian airspace when it suddenly changed direction. The airline says it was notified by Belarusian air traffic control of a potential security threat and told to divert to Minsk airport.

The defence ministry of Belarus even sent up a MiG-29 fighter jet to accompany the flight – and it says, to ensure it landed safely. But after an extensive search on board, nothing suspicious was found. Instead, Roman Protasevich, a well-known Belarusian opposition journalist, was arrested.

Key words and phrases

say publicly that something is morally wrong

• We must condemn acts of racism in order to stop it in the future.
• The government condemned the street violence.

strong expression of anger at an action

• There was an outcry after the school banned mobile phones.
• Following an outcry from fans, the writer changed the ending of her latest novel.

forced to live in another country for political reasons

• London in the 1800s was full of exiled political thinkers like Karl Marx.
• Living in exile can be a very lonely experience.

Test your understanding on our website at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/newsreview/unit-18/session-195

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *