The air traffic controller of the Minsk airport, who participated in the landing of a Ryanair flight with opposition leader Roman Protasevich on board, crossed the Belarusian-Polish border with migrants in the summer of 2021. About it informs The New York Times. In addition, the dispatcher said that the landing of the plane was an operation of the Belarusian special services.
The publication reports that the dispatcher has provided evidence for his statements. It follows from them that the crew of the plane with Roman Protasevich and Sophia Sapieha on board was informed about the imaginary threat of an explosion. In addition, the press secretary of the Minister-Coordinator of the Polish special services Stanislav Zharin spoke about the receipt by Polish officials of the report “a direct witness to the events at the control tower.”
The publication learned about the dispatcher’s testimony from the European security services, who wished to remain anonymous, since they “are not authorized to discuss confidential information.” According to Zharin, an officer of the Belarusian intelligence and security service of the KGB was in the control room during the landing operation and “at the decisive moment took control of the air traffic control service.” Throughout the entire incident, the Belarusian officer “maintained constant telephone contact with someone to whom he informed about what is currently happening with the plane.”
As a reminder, on May 23, a Ryanair plane en route from Athens to Vilnius landed at the Minsk airport after receiving a message about mining. On the instructions of Alexander Lukashenko, a fighter was raised to accompany the passenger plane. Lukashenka personally gave the command to land the plane. After the plane landed, Roman Protasevich, one of the founders of the opposition telegram channel NEXTA, and his girlfriend, Russian woman Sofya Sapega, were arrested. Both were on board.
Previously reportedthat the Belarusian opposition leader Roman Protasevich was under surveillance while still in Greece, from where he flew by Ryanair. This information was provided to the publication by a source in the Greek National Intelligence Service. According to this information, at least three operatives followed Protasevich throughout his vacation.
Greek intelligence agencies examined the surveillance footage at hotels and the airport and concluded that the journalist was under surveillance, including during a trip to Crete with Sophia Sapega. It was noted that the operatives acted in the interests of Minsk, while they allegedly had Russian passports.
In June, Protasevich and Sapega were transferred from the KGB pre-trial detention center to house arrest. The Investigative Committee of Belarus reported that the defendants made a deal with the investigation and are making confessions. On August 9, Alexander Lukashenko, commenting on the Protasevich case, saidthat “he is now practically at large.”
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