Lukashenko: 'Ill-wishers' mounting 'hybrid war'

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that the forced landing of a plane leading to the detention of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich was based on international rules. He expressed a confrontational attitude toward Western nations, accusing them of waging "hybrid war."

The president made the remarks in a speech on Wednesday.

Lukashenko said his government received a warning from Switzerland of a bomb threat to the flight.

He also said "ill-wishers" inside and outside the country are attacking Belarus, and that they have crossed "red lines."

Lukashenko said the friction with the West over the incident is not just an information war, but a "hybrid war," and that for the ill-wishers, Belarus is a test ground for an attack on Russia.

Lukashenko's comment indicates he wants to act in cooperation with Russia over the episode.

Protasevich was taken into custody on Sunday after his plane was ordered to land in the Belarusian capital of Minsk while it was crossing through the country's airspace. Western countries and others have denounced the incident.

Meanwhile, the Swiss foreign ministry has denied Lukashenko's claim about the bomb threat.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs tweeted on Wednesday that "Swiss authorities have no knowledge of a bomb threat" on the flight. It also said, "Therefore, there have been no announcements from the Swiss authorities to the Belarusian authorities on this matter."