MINSK, 24 May (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to invite international experts to probe into the Ryanair plane landing in Minsk, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told the media, BelTA has learned.
"We are ready to invite experts of any international organizations, first of all, ICAO, IATA for an investigation. We are ready to host any experts, specialists to make an objective picture of what happened," the minister said.
He also said that Belarus is ready to provide any data related to the incident. "We are ready to conduct a transparent investigation of this incident involving relevant international specialists. As far as I know no EU country, no Western country has requested information on this case from the Belarusian side for the time being. But they have already made hundreds of political statements not only with accusations, but also with open threats against Belarus. This is totally unacceptable. This is what is called the ‘new geopolitical order in action'," Vladimir Makei stressed.
BelTA reported earlier that an aircraft of the air carrier Ryanair was flying over Belarus on the way from Athens to Vilnius on 23 May. The aircraft sent a distress signal. The airport received the signal at 12:50. The FR4978 flight squawked code 7700 – it is the main emergency code, which signifies an emergency situation on board. A message about a bomb on board the aircraft was the reason for the distress call.
The pilot-in-command decided to divert the aircraft to the Minsk National Airport where the aircraft landed at 13:15. Emergency response teams of the airport, ambulances, aviation security personnel, and K9 specialists had already been waiting for the aircraft at the parking apron. Prompt security checks were made. Additional units of the Emergencies Ministry arrived. Representatives of law enforcement agencies worked on site.
There were 123 passengers on board. All of them went through an additional aviation security check and were delivered to the airport's transit lounge for investigation measures. The luggage was also removed from the aircraft and submitted to an additional security check. The tip about the bomb on board the aircraft proved false. The aircraft left the Minsk National Airport for Vilnius at 20:48.
The Investigative Committee branch of Minsk's Oktyabrsky District has opened a criminal case into a knowingly false report about danger in line with part 1, Article 340 of the Criminal Code.
On 24 May the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Latvia's ambassador over the incident with the Belarusian state flag in Riga. These days the Latvian capital is hosting the IIHF World Championships and has the flags of the participating countries raised in the city center. Today, Mayor of Riga Martins Stakis and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics replaced the Belarusian state flag with the white-red-white flag.