Deputy head of Belaeronavigatsia: US accusations because of Ryanair are part of the pressure on Minsk The US Department of Justice accused four citizens of Belarus of air piracy in connection with the landing of a Ryanair plane. One of them, the deputy head of Belaeronavigatsia, did not rule out that this was pressure before considering a counter-complaint from Minsk
Deputy General Director of “Belaeronavigatsia” Oleg Kazyuchits, who was sued in the United States over the incident with the Ryanair aircraft, said that he had no official information about the charges, but does not exclude that this is part of pressure from Washington before the ICAO considers the incident report and Minsk's complaint on aviation restrictions. The US Department of Justice accused four citizens of Belarus, including Kazyuchits, of “conspiracy to commit air piracy” due to an incident with an emergency landing in Minsk of a Ryanair aircraft in May 2021.
“In general, I regard this as complete nonsense <…>. It is quite possible that on 31 [January] a debate over the ICAO report is planned and this is some kind of pressure [on the Belarusian side] to provoke some actions, steps, actions. This is at least ugly, undignified, incorrect, goes beyond common sense, — Kazyuchits told RIA Novosti.
According to the deputy head of Belaeronavigatsia, he learned about the accusations from the media and did not receive any official notifications in connection with this. “Based on the publications that I have read, I still do not understand how official this is, how real it is: maybe pure pressure or a provocation. Nobody officially informed me. If I hadn’t watched the news in the morning, maybe I wouldn’t have known about it, — noted Kazyuchits.
Deputy Director General of Belaeronavigatsia also added that he does not yet see the need to seek legal assistance in connection with information about the claim. “I don't feel guilty about anything,” — he emphasized.
A Ryanair aircraft en route to Athens— Vilnius, made an emergency landing at the Minsk airport due to a bomb report in May last year. On board were Roman Protasevich, ex-editor-in-chief of the opposition Telegram channel Nexta, who is a defendant in criminal cases in Belarus, and his Russian girlfriend Sofya Sapega. Both were detained at the Minsk airport and later arrested. A search on board the aircraft did not reveal any dangerous objects.
After the arrest, Protasevich admitted his guilt, but his relatives believe that all the confessions and statements of readiness to cooperate with the Belarusian authorities were given under pressure. At a press conference in June last year, the detainee stated that he was not forced to cooperate with the investigation. After that, Protasevich and Sapega entered into a pre-trial agreement with the investigation, they were transferred to house arrest.
Washington believes that the Belarusian authorities “fabricated a threat” to force the plane to land in Minsk, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement. The aim of the authorities was to arrest a political journalist and activist “critical of the government of Belarus”, as well as his girlfriend, the department added.
Earlier, The Aviation Herald, citing a report that ICAO sent to its participants, reported, that the information about the mining of the Ryanair aircraft was deliberately false, but the organization does not attribute its distribution to any country.
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