President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has commented on the incident with the emergently landed Ryanair plane in Minsk for the first time. He stated that a terrorist was in the plane and it was a known fact outside Belarus as RIA News reported.
“On the board of this plane, the terrorist stayed and it was known far outside Belarus,” Lukashenko said.
Besides, Lukashenko stated that the crew of the Ryanair plane consulted with the air company and airport in Vilnius but it made a decision to land in Minsk as BelTA reported.
“The plane was turned around near Astravec nuclear power plant. What if the security system of the power plant was put on full alert? I acted legally, protecting people, according to all international rules,” the president of Belarus noted.
Moreover, the leader of Belarus commented on the cease of air traffic with Belarus and stop of flights over the country, adding that “if you do not like to fly over safe Belarus – then fly over the place, where 300 people were killed”.
As we reported, Ukraine has ceased the air traffic with Belarus at midnight, on May 26. Besides, Ukrainian air companies and planes are banned from holding flights in the air space of Belarus. The border guard service was ordered to stop the issuance of passengers who come to or from Belarus at customs points of the airports.
On Mat 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 incidence with 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.