MINSK, 31 May (BelTA) – Incidents with aircraft landings are not that rare but the situation with the Ryanair aircraft landing in Minsk was artificially politicized. The political analyst Aleksandr Shpakovsky made the relevant statement on the air of the Belarusian radio station Alfa Radio, sb.by reports.
A flight of the air carrier Ryanair on the way from Dublin to Krakow had to land in the Berlin Brandenburg Airport in the evening on 30 May due to a bomb threat. The aircraft stayed on the runway till early morning on Monday. No bomb was found on board. The incident happened exactly one week after Ryanair's Athens-Vilnius flight had to land in the Minsk National Airport in an emergency.
Aleksandr Shpakovsky said: “It is generally acknowledged that such incidents are not all that rare. People often fail to notice such situations but the incident in Belarus was artificially politicized. A similar event happened in Berlin: actions of the German police were similar to what the Belarusian side did. I am convinced that if people wanted by the German police had been on board the flight, they would have been arrested just like Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega were arrested [in Minsk]. Judging by international experience, bomb threat situations develop in accordance with one scenario. The crew decides to land, local law enforcement starts examining the aircraft to find the bomb. The flight is halted for 7-8 hours. The passengers experience inconvenience. One starts to wonder who benefits from it?”
Aleksandr Shpakovsky also reminded about what happened in 2016. “Back then an aircraft of the Belarusian air carrier Belavia was flying from Kiev to Minsk and was forced to turn back and land in the Kyiv International Airport under the threat of deployment of combat aviation. Law enforcement officers escorted the Armenian citizen Armen Martirosyan off the aircraft. He was questioned and his luggage was examined anew. He was ordered to return to Kiev. In 2017 Martirosyan sued the Ukrainian law enforcement service to recognize its actions as illegal and get compensation. The suit was rejected. The Ukrainian judge referred to the international practice in similar cases. In a similar case a European court determined that rights of individuals and masses can be curtailed if a potential threat is reported and present,” the political analyst stressed.
Aleksandr Shpakovsky stressed that a threat had been reported when Ryanair's Athens-Vilnius flight or Dublin-Krakow flight had to be grounded. As for the Kiev-Minsk flight, law enforcement agencies wanted to talk to the Armenian citizen. The analyst mentioned it as the difference between these situations.
The expert is convinced: “It is a lawful process from the point of view of the case law. The actions Belarusian law enforcement and security agencies took when the Athens-Vilnius aircraft was grounded are compliant with the logic and practice of European laws.”
Aleksandr Shpakovsky also pointed out that the Dublin-Krakow aircraft stayed on the runway the entire night till the morning of 31 May. Information about what happened became available only in the morning. But European politicians responded within 15 minutes after Ryanair's Athens-Vilnius flight landed in Minsk on 23 May.
“It prompts me to believe it was a preplanned provocation. Previously prepared cookie-cutter statements prompt concrete conclusions,” Aleksandr Shpakovsky said.