Lukashenko defends the diversion of the plane and threatens the EU with opening the doors to immigration. The Belarusian leader maintains that during the incident with the Ryanair plane he acted at all times seeking to guarantee the security of the country. He reminds Brussels that the alternative to his country’s airspace is Ukraine, where in 2014 a passenger plane was shot down.
Aleksándr Lukashenko , the president of Belarus , has spoken for the first time since the controversial Ryanair flight diversion last Sunday, a serious air incident in which Roman Protasevich, a prominent opposition journalist, and his girlfriend were arrested .
In his speech, the president has mixed justifications with threats , and has forcefully rejected the decision of the EU that its planes circumvent Belarusian airspace, warning in turn that in the future, it will continue to act in the same way. “I acted in accordance with the law and I will continue to do so,” he said.
“The information about the bomb on the plane came from Switzerland , and we transferred it to the crew, ” he insisted. The decision to send a military plane to force the plane to change course and head to Minsk airport was the right one, in his opinion. “I thought about the security of the country, I could not allow the plane to fall on the heads of our people,” he stressed.
Despite Lukashenko’s explanations claiming that he acted on a bomb alert that, to make matters worse, turned out to be false, in Moscow, politicians and personalities close to the Kremlin described the diversion as a “brilliant special operation”devised by the Belarusian head of state to arrest a young journalist very close to the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svetlana Tikhanóvskaya , and who had run a communication portal with nearly two million subscribers.
The Belarusian leader has lashed out against Brussels’ decision to have EU planes avoid the airspace of his country, which is heavily used on routes between Europe , Russia and East Asia , launching veiled threats against the safety of air navigation.
“You don’t want to fly over safe Belarus, so fly over” where 300 people died , “he said, referring to Ukraine and the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane in 2014 by a surface-to-air projectile fired by a Russian battery. Lukashenko also , has hinted that after the decision of the Twenty-seven, his country could end up turning a blind eye and allowing the passage of emigrants to theEuropean borders .
“We have detained migrants and drugs; now you are going to eat them and catch yourselves,” he concluded.