February 1, 2023

Raven Tribune

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Protassevich plane: KGB officer forced to land in Minsk

On the flight from Protassevich
The KGB officer made a forced landing in Minsk

The forcible landing of a Ryanair plane in late May exacerbated the conflict between Belarus and the European Union. Belarusian opposition leader Protashevich was also on board. Investigations into how a KGB officer lied to the pilots have now come to light.

When the Ryanair plane was forced to land with Belarusian blogger Roman Protozovich, an official of the KGB secret service reportedly ordered it from the tower of the Minsk airport. “He gave instructions to the staff who were in contact with the pilot,” said a statement from the Polish secret service ABW and the Office of the Attorney General.

The investigation also revealed that there was no bomb threat to the aircraft, contrary to the information provided by the tower to the pilot. During the conversation between the flight crew and the air traffic controllers, there was talk of a bomb threat before receiving the email. According to the report, investigators derive their findings from passengers, airlines’ representatives and analyzes of the engine’s surveys and recorded conversations.

The Ryanair machine is registered in Poland. Therefore, the country launched an investigation. In late May, Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair passenger plane to stop in Minsk on a warplane flight from Athens to Vilnius. The forced landing was justified by the bomb threat.

Also on board were Roman Protaswich, co-founder of opposition telegram channel Nexta, and his girlfriend Sofia Sabeka. Both were arrested after landing. The European Union, Great Britain and the United States have again imposed sanctions on the former Soviet republic. In June, Protashevich and Sabeka were released from prison and placed under house arrest.

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