• Belarus denies having intercepted and forced to land a Ryanair plane

    From Aviation HQ@2:292/854 to All on Sun Jan 23 12:34:26 2022
    Belarus denies that it forced a Ryanair plane to land at Minsk airport last May. On Thursday evening, four high-ranking Belarusian officials were charged in the United States with air piracy.

    President Alexander Lukashenko responded Friday to state news agency Belta by saying that the flight had not been intercepted by the Belarusians.

    On board the plane that was en route from Greece to Lithuania was Belarusian opposition member Roman Protasevich, who was arrested after a forced landing in Minsk.

    The four accused White Russians remain at large for the time being. They are suspected of having staged a bomb threat in order to lead Protasevich's flight to Minsk.

    There were four Americans on board the plane and prosecutors say "U.S. law was recklessly violated". "The next pilot to receive a report of a bomb threat could question its authenticity," an FBI spokesman said.

    Yet the American indictment, which is supported by the FBI, among others, means little in practice. In the US, the individuals would risk life imprisonment, but in Belarus they remain at large. President Alexander Lukashenko has not been charged.

    Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States imposed sanctions on Lukashenko's regime over the incident last year.

    --- DB4 - Jan 20 2022
    * Origin: AVIATION ECHO HQ (2:292/854)