MOSCOW, July 9th. / TASS /. Moscow expects the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to conduct a professional and unpolitical investigation into the Ryanair flight incident in Belarusian airspace on May 23, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharova said at a briefing on Friday.
She noted that the ICAO Council met on June 28 to discuss an interim report on the incident presented by the organization’s secretary-general. According to the Russian diplomat, the document emphasizes the need for additional information and underscores the Secretariat’s intention to keep in touch with the affected countries and organizations for additional assistance in completing the investigation.
“The group is expected to issue a final statement in September and we continue to believe that a professional and comprehensive assessment of the situation is needed without politicizing the issue or making hasty judgments,” said Sakharova.
On May 23, a Ryanair flight to Vilnius, which took off in Athens, had to make an emergency landing in the Belarusian capital Minsk after a reported bomb threat. A Mikoyan MiG-29 jet was jumbled up to escort the aircraft. The bomb threat came empty after the plane landed.
It later became known that Roman Protasevich, who was wanted in Belarus as a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel, recognized by the Belarusian authorities as extremist, was one of the passengers on the flight. He was arrested by Belarusian law enforcement agencies along with Russian citizen Sofia Sapega. Following the incident, the European Union banned Belarusian airlines from flying to EU airports and using European Union airspace and recommended that European airlines avoid Belarusian airspace.