Belarus accuses West of war, journo still detained

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused the West on Wednesday (May 26) of trying to use the diversion of a Ryanair plane to wage hybrid war against him...

..and said the journalist pulled off the plane had been plotting a rebellion.

In his first public speech since the incident, Lukashenko had this to say to parliament:

"As we predicted, our ill-wishers from outside the country and from inside the country changed their methods of attack on the state. They have crossed many red lines and have abandoned common sense and human morals. This is not information warfare anymore, this is modern hybrid warfare. We must do everything to prevent it to become a real war."

The journalist, Roman Protasevich, was shown on state TV on Monday confessing to organizing demonstrations.

Speaking to a Polish broadcaster, his mother Natalia said that his left jaw looked swollen.

She believes he's being tortured - and that his teeth and nose were broken and covered with make-up.

"Please, world, stand up and help, I beg you so much because they will kill him, they will kill him."

State TV broadcast a similar confession video of Sophia Sapega late on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old student was arrested with Protasevich and is believed to be his girlfriend.

Belarus denies that it mistreats detainees.

Europe's aviation regulator issued a bulletin on Wednesday urging all airlines to avoid Belarus airspace for safety reasons.

Western governments have already told their airlines to re-route flights to avoid Belarus's airspace and have announced plans to ban Belarusian planes.

Belarus has been subject to EU and U.S. sanctions since Lukashenko cracked down on pro-democracy protests after a disputed election last year.

And after the flight -- from Greece to Lithuania -- was intercepted, the EU says other unspecified sanctions are also in the works.

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