The Polish prosecutor’s office has denied the possibility of an explosion on board a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius on 23 May. The plane was planted under a false pretext in order to arrest the Belarusian oppositionist, according to the department.
“It was found that there was no threat of an explosion on board,” the Polish agency said in a statement. – The pilot received information about such a threat even before sending an email about the alleged placement of explosives on the plane. Actions at the Minsk airport, including the actions of emergency services and airport services, also testified to the complete absence of a threat. “
Earlier, the Polish prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case on the fact of “forced landing” of a Ryanair plane in Minsk. According to the investigation, the Belarusian authorities used deception and threats to seize control (part 1 of article 166 of the Criminal Code of Poland) over the aircraft and imprisonment of its passengers (part 1 of article 189 of the Criminal Code).
On December 8, it was reported that in the forcibly landed plane a witness appeared – an air traffic controller who took part in the operation. According to him, the crew of the plane with Roman Protasevich and Sophia Sapieha on board was informed about the imaginary threat of an explosion. Stanislav Zharin, press secretary of the Minister-Coordinator of the Polish special services, said that the 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.”