Forced landing of Ryanair flight in Minsk

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NEXTA founder/editor Roman Protasevich was arrested in Belarus after Ryanair plane Athens-Vilnius landed in Minsk after the captain was informed of a fake bomb threat issued in the name of Hamas. (RFE/RL version here). This seem to follow footsteps of Ukraine forcing return of Belavia plane on Oct. 22, 2016, to detain anti-Maidan blogger, citizen of Armenia (later released). It is also suggested (see eg here) that Russian PMC arrests in Belarus were originally planned in the form of forcing their flight from Minsk to land in Ukraine (this version was reported by Butusov of tsensor.net).

Allegations

  • My plan for Belarus - Rod Liddle, The Spectator, May 29 2021 issue
    A MiG fighter from Belarus intercepted a civilian Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius and threatened to shoot it down unless it diverted to Minsk airport. The MiG pilot informed the Ryanair pilot that he had been given permission to open fire, i.e. this was not a rogue act but one sanctioned by the Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko. After the plane landed in Minsk, Belarus thugs boarded it and dragged off the young journalist Roman Protasevich, who apparently informed a fellow passenger that he expected to receive the death penalty.

People

Roman Protasevich

Roman Protasevich while serving with the Azov Battalion
Roman Protasevich at the airport bus at Minsk airport. The photo was taken by an unknown person at 12:28 GMT, only 7 minutes before it was tweeted Franak Viačorka. This is the incident that was described by Protasevich and was first thought to have happened Athens.

Sophia Sapega

Intelligence operatives

  • No KGB agents checked out in Minsk.

Man at Athens airport

Protonmail

A fake screenshot of the hoax bomb threat from fake Hamas. (Source: Mikhail Khodorkovsky). Russian вс (воскресенье --Sunday) in the date, but English To in the address

Bomb threat

Suspects

Ryanair plane

Official comments

Doubts/Denials

Precedents

Sanctions

Analysis