Lithuania to ask to correct ICAO report on Belarus-diverted plane

  • 2022-01-31
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) is on Monday looking into the report on the diversion and forced landing of an Ryanair plane, en route from Athens to Vilnius, in Minsk, Lithuania will ask for additional time for the correction of this document, Transport Minister Marius Skuodis says.

"From the Lithuanian side, we will ask for additional time to be provided for the report to be corrected as Poland is getting ready to provide additional information that has been coordinated by Polish and Lithuanian law enforcement agencies. It should be a basis to change the way international law is viewed in the report," Skuodis told reporters on Monday morning.

In his words, the information received from Poland is very important and can have impact on the incident's further investigation.

"It can significantly change the conclusions. From what I know, that information is significant. Since it is information from the investigators, I cannot comment in more detail," the minister said.

In his words, the issue of discrepancy in the facts about the bomb, recorded in the report, will be raised at the meeting of the ICAO Council 

"Objective facts presented in the report show that the plane started descending way before the reports from different airports on the presence of a bomb were received. In other words, decisions were made in Belarus first and only afterwards the bomb threats were received," Skuodis said.

Other circumstances related to the evacuation of passengers at Minsk Airports will be considered as well.

The ICAO launched its investigation last year after the Ryanair plane with 126 passengers, en route from Athens to Vilnius, was diverted to and forced to land in Minsk. A fighter jet was also scrambled during this incident.

Once the plane landed in the Belarusian capital, Belarusian opposition blogger Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapiega were detained. The detention caused international uproar.

Ryanair said Belarusian air traffic controllers told the pilots to divert the plane due to a bomb on the plane. Subsequent checks found no explosives.

Several countries, including the US, Canada, the UK and the EU imposed sanctions for Belarus in response to this incident.