President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko claims that Roman Protasevich, the founder of the NEXTA Telegram channel detained in Minsk, allegedly took part in the war in Donbas. This was reported by sb.by.
Lukashenko noted that Protasevich allegedly fought in the Azov battalion.
According to him, a "terrorist" was on the plane that landed in Minsk.
"So let his numerous Western patrons answer this question: Which intelligence services did this individual work for? Not only him but his accomplice as well. These Western advocates should answer one more question: who paid him for taking part in the war in Donbas? Perhaps, they fear this the most," the president said.
At the same time, the founder of the Azov battalion, the head of the National Corps, Andriy Biletsky, said that Protasevich did not take part in the hostilities in Donbas, but worked there as a journalist.
On May 23, the founder of the largest opposition telegram channel of Belarus NEXTA, journalist Roman Protasevich, was detained in Minsk. The plane with Roman Protasevich on board flew from Athens to Vilnius. Suddenly, the plane gave a distress signal, changed course, and made an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. The emergency landing was caused by a mining signal.
The EU stated that the plane of Ryanair Company was forced to land at Minsk Airport due to the actions of the Belarusian military aircraft. CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary stated that the forcible landing of Athens-Vilnius flight in Belarus was highjacking backed by the state.
Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen threatened with sanctions the Belarusian officials responsible for the incident with the plane.
The U.S. and a number of the EU countries demand to stop the flights over Belarus, including the flights to the country itself.