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Minsk opens to investigation on Ryanair plane hijacking

Controversial episode dates back to 23 May

It's time to talk again, after some time, about the plane of the low-cost carrier Ryanair hijacked on the orders of Belarus to arrest a political opponent, the young Roman Protassevich, former collaborator of Nexta, Telegram channel of opposition to the Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko. Just today, Monday August 9, 2021, Belarus said it was open to an international investigation into what happened last May. Lukashenko himself spoke about it during a meeting with journalists, underlining that he had invited the United States to investigate the issue and that he had nothing against it. The political leader, however, used an irreverent tone towards the journalist who had asked him the question on the subject: "We are open to any investigation, why did you not investigate?".

Ryanair flight had departed from Greece and was to reach Lithuania, only to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after an alleged device was reported on board. To accompany the vehicle it was also necessary to take off a Mig-29 that escorted the plane of the Irish airline. The controversy was immediate, as Protassevich's companion was also arrested. Several nations blocked air connections with Belarus following the episode: only on June 25 the opponent was released from prison to serve the rest of his house arrest sentence, together with his girlfriend who was on the hijacked plane. However, a certain caution remains despite this change of provision. Concern for the 26-year-old's health was inevitable during his incarceration, but then it was finally possible to breathe a sigh of relief.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency
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