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Lithuania: Airspace

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 8630, tabled on 27 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Lithuanian counterpart on what steps (a) the UK Government and (b) NATO can take to assist in securing Lithuanian airspace in the aftermath of the recent hijacking of Flight FR4978 and kidnapping of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich.

Answered on

10 June 2021

The Government has been in close contact with partners in responding to the forced diversion of FR4978 and the arrest of Roman Protasevich by the Belarusian authorities. The UK has worked in the G7, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council and as Co-Chair of the Media Freedom Coalition to condemn the Belarusian regime's appalling and dangerous actions. The Government welcomes the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council's decision to launch a fact finding mission into the incident.

NATO issued a statement on 26 May strongly condemning the incident and the Foreign Secretary raised it at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 1 June, highlighting the assault on civil aviation law and calling on Allies and Partners to stand together and send a clear message of unity against such actions.

The UK and Lithuania collaborate extremely closely, both bilaterally and through multilateral bodies such as NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), to address threats to regional security. The Foreign Secretary will be speaking with Foreign Minister Landsbergis to assure him of the UK's steadfast support for Lithuania's actions in response to this unprecedented act, and that the UK stands ready to work with Lithuania to hold the Belarusian authorities to account.