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Saturday, September 23, 2023

The ICAO Council has demanded that the Belarus diversion be investigated further

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The final report on Belarus’ diversion of Ryanair aircraft FR4978 was evaluated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, which ruled that more investigation is required.

Members of the Council cited flaws in the data presented by the Lukashenko regime.

“The Council expressed concern at the gaps in the information provided by Belarus and the inconsistencies contained in the evidence available at the time of the investigation in relation to crucial aspects of the factual reconstruction of the events, and highlighted that the bomb threat against FR4978 was deliberately false and had endangered the safety of an aircraft in flight,” it said in a statement.

As a result, the Council asked that the investigation continues in order to uncover the missing narrative pieces.

Following an alleged bomb threat, Ryanair aircraft FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to Minsk on May 23, 2021. The plane, a Boeing 737 with the registration SP-RSM, was stopped by an armed Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet while flying above Belarusian territory and approaching the Lithuanian border.

The plane abruptly reversed course to the east, landing in Minsk, Belarus’ capital city.

Two passengers, described as opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner, Sofia Sapega, were detained by the Belarusian security forces upon arrival in Minsk (MSQ). As a result, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada placed further economic penalties on Belarus, as well as individual sanctions on members of the Lukashenko government.

Federal prosecutors in New York accused four Belarusian officials of piracy just days after the fact-finding report was made public to ICAO member nations in January 2022.


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