The Ryanair B737 moves to Belarus after taking over the MiG-29 fighter jet
Ryanair’s Boeing 737 was arrested on a MiG-29 fighter jet, transferred to Minsk, and an opposition activist was arrested on arrival.
Flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was “Belarusian ATC reports possible threat on board” and changed course to “Nearest Airport, Minsk” according to a Ryanair report. Roman Protasevičius, a well-known opposition activist and blogger, was arrested on arrival; allegedly on the instructions of the Belarussian government. Reuters said it was on the wanted list after major demonstrations following last year’s election.
Belarusian state media reported that the flight was diverted due to a frightening bomb; however, Ryanair confirmed this “Nothing bad found” local authorities.
ICAO said it was concerned about “Obvious forced landing” which can be “In violation of the Chicago Convention” defining airspace and aircraft safety rules.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen said “Any violation of international air transport rules must have consequences” meanwhile UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the event as “Strange action.”
Sources: BBC / Reuters