24 May 2021

Morning headlines – May 24th 2021

Florin Jipa

Image source: Mediafax

Coronavirus and vaccines

  • Vaccination in Romania: In the last 24 hours, more than 54.000 people got vaccinated (more than 30.000 with both doses). Totally, more than 4.1 million people got the vaccine, with more than 3.1 getting both doses.
  • Coronavirus in Romania: In the last 24 hours, there were recorded 307 new SARS CoV-2 cases, 56 deaths and in ICU there are now 590 people hospitalized.
  • Romania gets today almost 700.000 new Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines. 698.490 doses will arrive today on Otopeni, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara airports, says the National Committee for the Coordination of Activities on Covid-19 Vaccination.

Global political and military events

  • The Ryanair RF4978 airplane, which was flying from Greece to Lithuania, was forced to land, on Sunday afternoon, in Belarus’s capital, due to an allegedly security threat on board. According to a Ryanair press release sent to the Defence and Security Monitor, the control made by the security forces on Minsk’s airport, after landing, did not confirm the existence of the threat. According to Mediafax, the Belarus authorities have made everything up to arrest Roman Protasevich, which was on board. Protasevich is a critic of Lukashenka’s regime.
  • An armed MiG-29 with air-to-air missiles has forced the civilian flight to land in Minsk. According to Intel Air&Sea, the MiG-29 of the Belarus Air Forces was armed with air defense missiles and had the ability to hit the Ryanair civilian aircrafts, if the pilots would have refused to land.
  • There were four KGB Belarus agents on board. Six people stayed in Minsk: the journalist Roman Protasevich, who was arrested, his girlfriend and four KGB Belarus agents, who provoked the terrorist attack diversion, says the Lithuania media.
  • The European leaders have reacted to the Belarus incident. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated the Belarus’s action is (totally unacceptable). Germany has demanded an immediate explanation, and Poland’s prime-minister called the incident “a state terrorism act”, says Mediafax.
  • The US condemns the diversion of the Ryanair airplane. The US State Secretary, Antony Blinken, has stated, on Sunday, that the US condemns the diversion of the Ryanair aircrafts to Belarus and the detainment of an opposition journalist, who was on board, and asked for the immediate reunion of an international emergency reunion of civilian aviation, says AP.
  • Special meeting of the European Council. On Monday and Tuesday the Extraordinary reunion of the European Council will take place in Brussels, where the European leaders might impose sanctions on Belarus.
  • China is threatening that Australia will be the first attacked country. China has warned Australia that its army is weak and it threatened it that it will be the first “attacked” country if it will help Taiwan militarily in case of a Chinese attack over the island, says Daily Mail Australia.

Romania’s defence and security

  • President Iohannis, at the special meeting of the European Council. President Iohannis will participate, on Monday and Tuesday, at the special meeting of the European Council, in Brussels, where he will plead for the immediate and unitary implementation of the digital green cards, said the Presidential Administration.
  • Romania, the first country to get the modern version of PATRIOT systems. Romania will be the first country to get, in 2022, the modern version of the PATRIOT air defense missiles, made by Raytheon Missiles and Defense, said the agency militaryleak.com.