Russian, Belarusian Foreign Ministers Discuss Ryanair Flight Diversion

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The Russian and Belarusian foreign ministers discussed the recent developments regarding the forced landing of Ryanair flight in Minsk over the phone on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry following the phone conversation, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov emphasized the importance of “a comprehensive and objective investigation by the competent expert bodies.”

Makei confirmed Belarus’ readiness to engage in open interaction with international aviation bodies and provide them with all necessary reliable information.

In a separate statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia regrets the EU leaders’ recommendation to suspend flights in Belarusian airspace, called to first figure out what happened.

He said Belarus issued the necessary warnings to pilots in accordance with international regulations for cases of a bomb alert.

The actions of the Belarusian dispatchers were professional and aimed at minimizing the possible threat on board the Ryanair plane, Peskov added.

The Kremlin spokesman recalled that the Russian and Belarusian presidents planned to meet this week in the Russian city of Sochi, where Alexander Lukashenko will discuss all details of the incident with Vladimir Putin, he said.

Asked about a Russian national, detained during the Ryanair flight stay in Minsk, Peskov said he expects that she will be released if she did not commit any crimes.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied the detention of four Russians on the same flight, saying that only one woman was arrested.

On Sunday, a Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS flight from Greece’s capital Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius landed in the Belarusian capital Minsk due to a bomb threat, and Roman Protasevich, a journalist wanted for his involvement in “terrorism incidents,” was reportedly detained.

During a news conference in Geneva earlier Tuesday, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, identified the Russian woman, who was detained alongside Protasevich, as Sofia Sapega.

Protasevich is the founder of a social media news channel, which reportedly played a major role in protests last summer in Belarus’ capital Minsk demanding the resignation of Lukashenko after he was awarded a sixth term in a presidential election.

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