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After the Ryanair incident in Belarus: Mysterious bomb threat against German Lufthansa plane

2021-05-24T15:53:31.185Z

Next incident after the forced landing of a Ryanair plane and the arrest of the opposition member Roman Protassewitsch. A German Lufthansa aircraft is being examined in Minsk for an alleged bomb threat.



Next incident after the forced landing of a Ryanair plane and the arrest of the opposition member Roman Protassewitsch.

A German Lufthansa aircraft is being examined in Minsk for an alleged bomb threat.

  • A Ryanair plane is forced to land in Minsk by Belarus.

  • After landing, the journalist Roman Protassewitsch, who was critical of the government, was arrested.

  • The activist's girlfriend was also arrested on Monday (see update from

    May 24, 12.43 p.m.).

  • In Minsk, a German Lufthansa plane is also being examined for an alleged bomb threat (see update from

    May 24th, 3:50 p.m.).

Update from May 24, 3:50 p.m

.: Mysterious incident in Minsk, Belarus: Just one day after the Ryanair incident involving the opposition Roman Protassewitsch, on Whit Monday at the capital's airport, a Lufthansa plane destined for Germany was checked by the security authorities because of an alleged bomb threat been searched.

It was therefore flight LH1487 to Frankfurt am Main. "We are following the instructions of the local authorities, who search the aircraft again before departure and subject the passengers to a security check again," the German airline told the AFP news agency. According to Lufthansa, 51 passengers including five members of the crew were on board. The suitcases and freight were also unloaded to subject them to a security check, it said. At the moment it is not known whether it is a false alarm or whether there are legitimate security concerns.

On Pentecost Sunday, the Belarusian air force intercepted a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania and forced it to land in Minsk.

On board was the dissident blogger Protassevich, who was arrested at the airport.

So now the incident with the German Lufthansa plane in Belarus.

Ryanair incident in Belarus: Roman Protassewitsch arrested - blogger suspected arrest?

Update from May 24th, 3:30 p.m

.: Did the dissident blogger Roman Protassewitsch suspect that the forced emergency landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk was meant for him?

At least that's what one of the passengers said.

“When I heard that the plane was returning to Belarus, I saw his reaction. He put his hands over his head as if he knew that something bad was going to happen, "said the Greek Nikos Petalis via video switch from Vilnius to the Greek TV broadcaster Mega:" They looked at him and thought something was wrong with him . "

But then Protassevich became calmer.

“We were only told that we had to make an emergency landing in Minsk.” Then the passengers would have had to stay on the plane for an hour without any further information.

He himself thought it might be some kind of emergency exercise, said Petalis: “We later sat in the waiting area of ​​the airport.

They didn't even let us go to the bathroom.

Protassevich sat next to me as if nothing had happened.

After a while the police came and arrested him. "

Roman Protassevich arrested in Belarus - girlfriend Sofia Sapega also arrested

Update from May 24, 12.43 p.m.:

The girlfriend of the oppositionist Roman Protassevich was arrested after a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Minsk. The law student Sofia Sapega was arrested on the way to Vilnius, where she was supposed to defend her master’s thesis, “under unfounded pretexts”, the European Humanistic University (EHU) said on Monday. She demanded consular support and the immediate release of the Russian citizen. A spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Foreign Minister also confirmed the student's arrest.

The couple were on their way from Athens to Vilnius when the flight was diverted by the Belarusian authorities and forced to make an emergency landing in Minsk due to an alleged bomb threat. There it was arrested at the airport. The action aroused horror and sharp protest around the world. The EU wants to discuss tightening sanctions at its summit on Monday. Meanwhile, Russia has called for an international investigation into the forced plane landing in neighboring Belarus. "There are international aviation regulations, and it is the international aviation authorities that should assess compliance or non-compliance with these international standards",


said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Moscow on Monday, according to the Interfax agency.

Peskow also called for a "sober assessment" of the incident.

Russia is Belarus' closest ally.

Belarus has denied Western allegations of forcing a Ryanair plane to stop in Minsk in order to arrest Protassevich.

The authorities reacted to a bomb threat in a completely legal manner, the State Department said on Monday.

“There is no doubt that the actions of our competent authorities complied with international rules.” The ministry accused the West of using “unfounded allegations” to politically exploit the incident.

Even one day after the arrest - no evidence of the whereabouts of journalists

Update from May 24th, 10:51 am:

There is still no trace of Roman Protassewitsch. The opposition activist was arrested on Sunday after a forced landing of a passenger plane in Belarus. There is no information about his whereabouts on Monday either. Several passengers on the Ryanair flight confirmed the arrest of the 26-year-old after landing in Lithuania. The Belarusian Association of Journalists and the human rights organization Wesna also confirmed the arrest. Protassewitsch was wanted in his homeland, among other things, for inciting protests against the ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

In an interview with the Belarusian radio station Radio Svoboda, Protassevich's father Dmitri was convinced that it was a careful operation "probably not only by the intelligence services of Belarus". Russia is a close ally of Belarus. His son was on his way back from a vacation in Greece to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius when Lukashenko had the plane forced to land. He himself did not know when his son was flying.



Dmitri Protassewitsch spoke of an "act of terror" by the ruler Lukashenko. "The operation was on a large scale to spit on the entire international community and their opinions." He is very worried about his son. “Unfortunately we don't know where he is or what is wrong with him. We hope for the best. "

Secret service employees on board the machine?

Some passengers got off the plane in Minsk

Update from May 24, 8:47 a.m.:

When a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Belarus, a blogger and journalist critical of the government was arrested: Roman Protassevich had worked for the opposition broadcaster Nexta in the past.

The station's editor-in-chief, Tadeusz Giczan, now reports on Twitter that several passengers did not return on board the plane after the stop in Minsk.

Accordingly, at least four people who are connected to the secret service in Belarus got on the plane in Athens.

After the journalist was arrested, they stayed in Minsk and did not fly any further to Vilnius.

Protassevich is said to have noticed people at the gate in Athens who are said to have taken photos of him.

The news channel Nexta, for which Protassevich also worked, repeatedly called for protests against the ruler Lukashenko after the last elections in Belarus.

Therefore, the secret service accuses the journalist of terrorism.

He could face the death penalty.

After a forced landing in Belarus - an investigation has been initiated

Update from May 23, 10:57 p.m.:

After the Ryanair plane intercepted in Belarus landed in Vilnius, the Lithuanian authorities started investigations. According to the General Prosecutor's Office in Vilnius, a preliminary investigation into the hijacking of an airplane has been opened. It will be carried out by the criminal police of the Baltic EU and NATO country. The passengers and crew of the aircraft that landed in Vilnius at 9:25 p.m. local time (8:25 p.m. CEST) with a delay of more than eight hours should also be interviewed.

"We also expect them to work with the law enforcement authorities and provide our officers with all the information they know," said Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, according to the BNS agency, after meeting the passengers at the Vilnius airport.

"We hope that people can go home as soon as possible tonight because we understand that everyone is tired."

Reactions from Germany and the EU: Baerbock sees "state terrorism"

Update from May 23, 9:07 p.m.:

After the forced stopover of a passenger plane in Minsk and the arrest of an accompanying exiled opposition member, the heads of state and government of the EU will discuss tightening sanctions against Belarus at their summit on Monday. A spokesman for EU Council President Charles Michel said on Sunday evening in Brussels that the planned summit would also be about the action of ruler Alexander Lukashenko. "On this occasion, the consequences and possible sanctions will be discussed."

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has criticized the forced plane landing in Minsk and called for "clear consequences". "The fact that a flight between two EU countries was forced to make a stopover under the pretext of a bomb threat is a serious interference with civil aviation in Europe," said the SPD politician on Sunday evening, according to a statement. "We are very concerned about reports that the journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested this way."

For the Chancellor candidate of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock *, the forced plane landing in Minsk amounts to "a state hijacking of a passenger plane".

The apparently arrested blogger Roman Protassewitsch must be released immediately, she wrote on Sunday evening on Twitter.

"The European Union cannot accept this unprecedented escalation, the threat to our freedom in Europe and the massive threat to European civil aviation," said Baerbock.

Belarus: Ryanair confirms the incident

Update from May 23, 6:52 p.m.:

The airline Ryanair has confirmed that one of its planes has been diverted to Belaraus on its way from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The crew of the flight had been informed by the Belarusian side of a possible security threat on board and instructed to fly to the nearest airport in Minsk, the airline announced on Sunday at the request of the German press agency.

The machine landed safely and passengers disembarked while local authorities carried out safety checks.

Nothing unusual was found.

The authorities then approved that after an estimated five hours on the ground, the plane could take off again together with passengers and crew.

EU leaders, Laschet, Söder and Maas condemn diversion of passenger flights

EU leaders have strongly condemned the diversion of a passenger flight and called for the release of all passengers.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to force the Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk," wrote EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter

CDU leader Armin Laschet has called for the European Council to deal with the cause.

"If Belarus threatens the freedom of civil aviation on a flight between two member states of the European Union, the European Council must deal with the consequences," wrote the Union's candidate for chancellor on Twitter.

“This is an unbelievable process and must have severe consequences.

The EU must now exhaust all conceivable sanctions options, ”said CSU boss Markus Söder on Twitter for harsh consequences.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made a similar statement on Twitter: “The fact that a flight between EU countries was forced to make a stopover under the pretext of a bomb threat is a serious encroachment on air traffic.

We are very concerned about reports that journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested on the way.

Maas continues: “That cannot go without clear consequences on the part of the EU.

We are in close contact with our EU partners.

In any case, Belarus must immediately guarantee the security, integrity and freedom of all passengers and release Roman Protasevich. "

Fighter jet in action: Lukashenko apparently forces RyanAir plane to land - opposition members on board

First report from May 23, 5:05 p.m .:

Minsk - The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is doing what he wants in Belarus - he even lets planes land and arrests passengers.

Authorities in the authoritarian republic have landed a plane in Minsk en route from Athens to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, according to state media reports.

The reason, apparently, was also on board the blogger Roman Protassewitsch, who was internationally sought after by the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko and who, according to the Wesna Human Rights Center, was arrested in Minsk.

Oppositionists stressed on Sunday that it was an unprecedented encroachment on international airspace.

The opposition news channel

Nexta

(spoken: Nechta) also confirmed the arrest of its co-founder and former editor.

Lukashenko "hijacked" an airplane in violation of all laws, criticized the channel.

There was initially no comment from the airline RyanAir.

Alleged explosive device: Lukashenko himself gives the order to let the machine land

The authorities in Belarus had

classified Nexta

as extremist.

After the controversial presidential election in 2020, the channel had repeatedly called for mass protests against the ruler.

Protassewitsch is one of the many opposition activists who have been wanted internationally and whom Lukashenko has declared war himself.

The secret service KGB had put the journalist on a list of people who were accused of participating in terrorist acts, as the portal

does.by reported

to

Telegram

.

According to the state agency

Belta

, Lukashenko himself gave the order to land the plane in Minsk after an alarm about an explosive device on board the plane.

Fighter jet soars - false alarm for suspected bomb

A MiG-29 fighter jet had also climbed up to accompany them, as the airport confirmed.

Airport spokesmen announced in state media that the pilots on board the passenger plane had asked for permission to land.

Later, the information about the alleged bomb turned out to be a false alarm.

The airport shift supervisor, Maxim Kijakow, said on state television that the 123 passengers in the trans area were waiting for their onward flight.

The German federal government has requested a statement from Belarus.

The State Secretary in the Foreign Office, Miguel Berger, wrote on Twitter that an "immediate declaration" was necessary.

Norbert Röttgen (55), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, calls for "clear consequences".

The CDU politician told the

editorial network Germany

: "If the information is confirmed, it is an incredible case of state terrorism."

"This is an unprecedented incident (...) The Belarus regime is behind this horrific action," wrote the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on the short message service Twitter.

The president of the actual destination country of the flight demanded the immediate release of Protassevich.

(

cg with dpa)

List of rubric lists: © Massimo Insabato via www.imago-images.de

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-05-24

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