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Vladimir Putin’s client state Belarus on Sunday forced down a jet owned by Irish-based Ryanair en route from Greece to Lithuania so it could seize a passenger, and the Biden administration wants … an investigation.
Huh? The facts of this (to quote White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki) “brazen affront to international peace and security” aren’t remotely in doubt. The question is what the civilized world will do about it.
This was dictator Alexander Lukashenko using deception (a fake bomb threat) and force (a fighter jet) to grab a determined critic (journalist Raman Pratasevich) simply because he figured he could get away with it.
Even the Europeans are getting tough: Britain, France and Lithuania have ordered their planes to avoid Belarus airspace, while the slow-moving European Union looks to tighten sanctions on Lukashenko’s misbegotten regime. (The dictator’s thugs have detained more than 30,000 demonstrators and hundreds of journalists amid protests over Lukashenko’s likely fraudulent re-election in August.)
Washington needs to quit stalling and treat this as what the Lithuanian prez rightly called it: a “state-sponsored terror act.” If Lukashenko doesn’t get stomped fast and hard, the goons of the world will push the envelope even harder next time.
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