EU leaders to discuss Belarus flight incident

EU leaders plan to discuss possible sanctions on Belarus for forcing an Irish passenger plane to land in its capital and detaining a dissident activist who was on board.

The Ryanair plane was flying from Greece to Lithuania when it was diverted by Belarusian authorities and forced to land in Minsk on Sunday. The dissident, Roman Protasevich, was taken into custody.

Belarus's state-run media reported that authorities instructed the aircraft to make an emergency landing, citing a bomb threat, but that no explosives have been found on the plane.

Officials of other countries have condemned the Belarusian authorities' actions of forcing the plane to land in order to arrest an opponent of the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.

European Council President Charles Michel said EU leaders will discuss the incident during an EU summit meeting starting on Monday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement, "The EU will consider the consequences of this action, including taking measures against those responsible."

The Belarusian foreign ministry says the country's authorities acted in full conformity with international rules. There has been no official word from Lukashenko.