In 2016 Ukraine Forced a Belarusian Airliner to Land to Nab an Armenian Journalist Critical of the Maidan
The Empire did not find it "shocking." or even worthy of mention
Ryanair’s incident involving the apparent forced diversion of a Boeing 737-800 to Minsk strongly parallels an event five years ago involving a Minsk-bound service operated by Belarusian flag-carrier Belavia.
The Belavia aircraft, also a 737-800, had departed Kiev’s downtown Zhulhany airport for Minsk on 21 October 2016 with 142 occupants.
But just 27nm short of the airspace boundary between the Kiev and Minsk flight information regions, according to Belavia at the time, the crew was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to return to the airport without explanation.
“It was also stated that, in the event of non-compliance with the order, fighters would be [sent to intercept],” the carrier added.
Ukrainian law enforcement, the airline said, removed an Armenian passenger from the aircraft after it landed at Zhulhany, about 20min after being ordered to return.
The passenger was widely identified as the reporter Armen Martirosyan, aligned with the anti-Maidan movement which opposed the Ukrainian government and its closer ties with Europe.
He was detained only briefly and departed on another Belavia service to Minsk within 3h, the airline said.
Belarus’s foreign ministry formally protested to Ukrainian’s diplomatic mission over the authorities’ actions to “forcibly return” the Belavia aircraft.
“The Belarusian side expects an official apology and demands reimbursement of all financial costs and expenses caused by the actions of the Ukrainian side,” it stated.
Ukrainian state security service SBU reportedly dismissed Belavia’s claims that air traffic control had threatened to deploy combat aircraft during the incident, suggesting that claims of such a measure against a civil aircraft were absurd.
Source: Flight Global
Members of the European Council have called on all European Union-based carriers to avoid overflights of Belarus in response to the forced diversion of a Ryanair Boeing 737 to Minsk.
It is also seeking further “targeted” economic sanctions and relevant measures against persons and entities “as soon as possible”.
The Council, during a 24 May session, called for necessary measures to block Belarusian airlines’ entry to EU airspace and access to EU airports.
British MP and Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps confirmed the decision on Twitter just hours after airBaltic became the first airline to divert flights away from Belarus. The move is a direct response to an incident on Sunday involving a Ryanair flight that was forced to divert and land in Belarus.
Following the forced diversion of a @Ryanair aircraft to Minsk yesterday, I’ve instructed @UK_CAA to request airlines avoid Belarusian airspace in order to keep passengers safe. I have also suspended Belavia’s operating permit.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) May 24, 2021
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published a statement regarding Belarus.
— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) May 24, 2021
airBaltic was the first airline to officially announce it would avoid Belarus. Cyprus-based Avia Solutions swiftly followed it. Now the UK has become the first nation to move against Belarus’ airline. However, it’s likely more will follow. The French government has requested the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) suspend all international flights over Belarusian airspace.
Lithuania’s transport minister Marius Skuodis has also confirmed that LOT and Wizzair would avoid Belarusian airspace. An Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna to Moscow has also gone around Belarus instead of straight across.
In addition, any flights heading to Lithuania, no matter where they originated, will need to avoid Belarusian airspace from midnight GMT tonight. Other countries will likely follow suit and suspend Belarus’ national carrier. Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has also told Lithuanian tourists to leave Belarus.
Source: Simple Flying