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ICAO releases report into Ryanair FR4978 forced diversion in Belarus

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has produced a report on the incident involving Ryanair flight FR4978 in Belarusian airspace.

The authority has also called a meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the report’s findings.

Representatives from the Council will also consider a request from Belarus about the legitimacy of the European Union’s sanctions against the country.

According to an ICAO statement, the recently released study was compiled by the authority’s Fact-Finding Investigation Team and is based on operational data, technical assessments, and other data on Ryanair flight FR4978 that was previously supplied to ICAO specialists by other countries.

All 193 ICAO member-states, including representatives from the 36 governments that make up the ICAO Council, will convene on January 31, 2022, to study the report conclusions and “officially discuss any additional steps,” according to the agency.

“The Council will also review a request from Belarus regarding what the State considers to have been unlawful restrictions or sanctions which were placed upon it in the aftermath of the event, by other States and the EU,” the statement reads.

Belarusian air traffic control warned Ryanair’s Boeing 737, registered as SP-RSM, operating flight FR4978 from Athens (ATH) to Vilnius (VNO), Lithuania, on May 23, 2021, that a bomb had been hidden in the aircraft.

Two passengers identified as opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner, Sofia Sapega, were arrested by the KGB, Belarus’ secret services, when the flight was forced to land in Minsk (MSQ), escorted by an armed Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet.

Western countries were outraged by the decision, and demanded that the Belarusian regime be sanctioned.


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