President Joe Biden said Monday that Belarus’s forced diversion of a Ryanair passenger flight and the subsequent removal and arrest of an opposition journalist is “outrageous” and “a direct affront to international norms.”

The president said that the U.S. “condemns in the strongest possible terms” both what international leaders have called a plane “hijacking,” as well as the arrest of 26-year-old Raman Pratasevich, the journalist who, along with his Russian girlfriend, was aboard the jetliner traveling from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, when it was forced to stop in Minsk, Belarus.

Biden’s statement comes on the same day that European Union leaders agreed to place sanctions on Belarus ― including banning the country’s airlines from using EU airspace. The leaders demanded that authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko immediately release Pratasevich and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, and called for the International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate what some see as an unprecedented move and potentially state terrorism or piracy.