Lukashenko says documents about Ryanair’s flight will reveal ‘what’s going on’ as Putin underscores his support for Belarus

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A Ryanair flight from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius was halted and forced to land in Minsk as it crossed Belarus on Sunday. When it landed, the chief Opposition activist Roman Protasevich And his russian partner Sofia Sapega, Who were on the flight, were both detained.

Lukashenko pointed to a briefcase before a closed-door conversation between two powerful leaders in Sochi on Friday told Putin that he had brought documents to show Russia “what is happening” in relation to the incident.

Lukashenko claims that the flight was diverted due to the bomb threat, saying that the threat originated in Switzerland, a charge that Swiss authorities have denied.

According to Lithuanian President Geethanas Nausuda, an email indicating the danger of the bomb was sent 30 minutes after the Lithuanian authorities indicated the landing of the aircraft going from Minsk to Vilnius.

“The initial signal came from Minsk Airport with the need to land at Minsk Airport, and the signal came 30 minutes before the email,” Nausuda told CNN on Friday. “So this is the reason, the mismatch between officially presented information and true information. This mismatch shows that it is misinformation, and we cannot just keep it for the truth.”

US warns airlines to be “extremely careful” when flying over Belarus

The European Union has banned the movement of Belarus-registered carriers from European airports and urged European airlines to avoid Belarus airspace. The block is also considering imposing new sanctions against Belarus.

The decision to ban Belarus-registered carriers was a “painful” one because for Belarus “such transportation generates hard currency”, Nausuda said.

Nausuda said that the action was directed at the Belarusian regime and oligarchs, not the Belarusian people or members of the opposition.

US aviation officials on Friday warned airlines to “use extreme caution” when flying over Belarus.

A notice issued by the Federal Aviation Administration will remain in effect until it can “better assess the circumstances” surrounding the incident.

Detained Belarussian dissidents appear in video as fury over 'kidnapping';  Ryanair flight

It said “the FAA assessment of the pending international investigation report is necessary to determine the related security impacts for US civilian passenger-carrying operations”, it said.

On Thursday, the International Civil Aviation Organization said that it would investigate the flight diversion, while at least two European carriers say they were refused permission by Russian authorities to fly to Moscow because they sent Belarusian Leaving was requested to fly through an alternate route. Airspace

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency said in a statement on Friday that it has issued a notice informing airlines that more withdrawals were due to an increase in requests to change routes already approved through Russian airspace and from Europe May take time.

During a meeting between two powerful people, Lukashenko told Putin, “You know, there are always people who want to throw problems at us.”

Lukashenko said, “Taking advantage of a trustworthy relationship like yours with me, I brought some documents. I’ll show them to you so that you understand what’s going on,” added later, “I’ll show you some documents, you’ll understand.” What is happening there and what has happened. An attempt is being made to take the situation to the level of August last year. “

Last August, the controversial re-election of Lukashenko sparked some of the biggest Anti government protest In the recent history of Belarus.

Protasevich was one of dozens of Belarusian journalists and activists who campaigned in exile against Lukashenko’s 27-year grip. Protasevich, 26, is the founder of the telegram channel NEXTA, which helped organize anti-Lukashenko protests, and is on the government’s wanted list for terrorism.

Putin told Lukashenko on Friday that there was no international outrage in 2013, an aircraft carrying the President of Bolivia was forced to land in Austria as false rumors spread that the former US National Security Agency contractor in the plane Edward Snowden was the rider.

Earlier this week, Lukashenko called the attacks on Belarus a modern hybrid war.

Lukashenko told the Belarusian parliament, “The Western rebellions (organizing) have led to the strangulation of the country.” “As we predicted, our well-wishers outside and inside the country have changed their ways of attacking the Belarusian state. They have crossed a lot of red lines and crossed the boundaries of common sense and common morality. have taken.”

The G7 group of the world’s wealthiest countries on Thursday added its voice to international condemnation of Belarus’ actions, issuing a joint statement calling the move a “serious attack on the rules governing civil aviation”.

In the statement, the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States, as well as the High Representative of the European Union, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of “(Roman Protasevich), as well as in all Belarus Other journalists and political prisoners held, condemned the action “in the strongest terms” by the Belarusian authorities.

CNN’s Cara Fox, Stephanie Hallaz, Tim Lister and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.

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