MINSK, 21 July (BelTA) – The incident with Ryanair's Athens-Vilnius flight, which had to land in the Minsk airport on 23 May after a tip about an explosive device on board the plane, was a premeditated provocation. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during an interview with the Arab-speaking TV channel Sky News Arabia on 19 July, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that statements claiming the Belarusian side had made the Ryanair aircraft change its course were a serious piece of fake news. “We didn't force anyone to land in Minsk and we didn't change the flight routes,” he said.
The president remarked Belarus will offer an apology to the entire world if someone presents facts to prove the Belarusian side had forced the plane to land. “Nobody has been able to present such facts so far. There are no facts like that,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“Neither you, a knowledgeable reporter and your colleagues, nor the general public in the West and even the general public in Belarus have heard what the pilot has to say to the questions reporters and the international community are interested in regarding this case,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
“Events concerning the aircraft were a premeditated provocation. Events after that indicate what the provocation intended to achieve: to enable further steps to choke Belarus and prevent its further development,” Aleksandr Lukashenko was convinced.