UNSC divided over Belarus journalist detention

The United Nations Security Council remains divided over the forced landing of a passenger plane in the Belarusian capital and the subsequent detention of a dissident journalist on board. Western members condemned the act, while Russia defended Belarus.

The Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Wednesday at the request of Western countries.

It came after the authorities of Belarus, a former Soviet republic, ordered the plane to land in Minsk while it was crossing through the country's airspace, and detained Roman Protasevich on Sunday.

After the meeting, Estonia's Ambassador to the UN, Sven Jurgenson, read out a statement on behalf of Western members.

The statement says, "These acts are a blatant attack on international civilian aviation safety and on European security and show flagrant disregard for international law." It also demands the immediate release of Protasevich.

Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, took to Twitter after the meeting to defend Belarus and criticize Western colleagues.

It says the pilots had "the choice where to land," noting that "these clear regime change tactics will deceive no one."

While Western members have expressed hope that the Council will "pronounce itself on this flagrant violation soon," it appears difficult for the body to take concerted action over the matter.