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Lukashenko about Pratasevich: "Terrorist was on board"

26.05.2021, 17:19
Photo credit: Deutsche Welle
Photo credit: Deutsche Welle

The self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko, said that information about the alleged mining of a Ryanair plane with the former editor-in-chief of the opposition NEXTA telegram channel Raman Pratasevich on board came from Switzerland, and "a terrorist was on board." Aleksander Lukashenko said it on May 26 during a speech in the Belarusian parliament, as Hromadske Radio reported.

Lukashenko claimed he had "acted in a lawful way to protect people, in line with all international rules."

“How should we act, especially against the background of a cascade of threats about the mining of our facilities? You live in Belarus and you know that every day, schools, universities and enterprises are “mined”. And "mining" is made from the IP addresses of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In any case, we reacted adequately, " Aleksander Lukashenko said quoted by BelTA.

According to him, the plane was forced to make a U-turn near the Belarusian Atomic Power Station.

"At that time, the plane crossed the border into Belarus and was in our airspace. We informed of it the pilots of the plane, we were obliged to publish it. Hamas, not Hamas, it doesn't matter today. The crew had time to make a decision. We had 123 passengers from different countries and six crew members in the air under threat. And, again, Belarusian Atomic Power station was located in the area of ​​flights. U-turn was made in the vicinity of it. The BAPS security systems have been switched to full alert. And if suddenly… We don't have enough Chernobyl? ” - Lukashenko said.

He added that the crew of the plane consulted with the owners of the plane and the airport in Vilnius, but allegedly decided to land in Minsk.

"The U-turn maneuver looks illogical (the plane was to make only 70 km to land in Vilnius), but the question is: why didn't other airports accept the plane?" - as Lukashenko said.

He also staid that "a terrorist was on board, and this was known far beyond Belarus."

He also called "an absolute lie" the information that a MiG-29 fighter had taken to the skies to intercept the plane. "The fighters were lifted to help the liner land in the event of an emergency," he explained.

Lukashenko also denied that MIG-29 military fighters were intercepting the plane in mid-sky. “The military fighters were lifted in order to help the liner could land in case of critical condition”. He also denied that armed persons held passengers and crew members in the airport.

Lukashenko's address was not broadcast live on television or radio. Lukashenko's words are quoted by the state media in text format.

As IMI reported, Roman Protasevich was detained on May 23. He was a passenger on the Athens-Vilnius flight, which landed in Minsk due to a report of a

As IMI reported, Roman Protasevych was detained on May 23. He was a passenger on the Athens-Vilnius flight, which made a forced land in Minsk due to a report of a bomb threat on board. After the inspection, Belarusian police arrested him. Ryanair has received instructions from Belarusian air traffic controllers to land the plane in Minsk. By order of the president Lukashenko, a MiG-29 military fighter was lifted into the sky to escort the plane.

Together with Protasevich, security forces detained his girlfriend Sofia Sapega.

As IMI reported, the State Security Committee of Belarus entered the founders of the NEXTA Telegram Channel to the list of persons involved in terrorist activities, along with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s leaders and other international terrorists.

An updated version of the List of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities has been published on the website of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus

As IMI reported, on November 16, Belarus sent a note to the Polish side demanding immediate extradition of Stepan Putyl and Roman Protasevich. 

On November 5, the Investigative Committee of Belarus accused Stepan Putylo and Roman Protasevich of organizing mass riots in Belarus. 

On October 20, the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk found the Nexta Live telegram channel and the Nexta logo to be extremist. 

The telegram channel Nexta Live, which covers the protests in Belarus  has been renamed as "HEXTA-Live", after a Minsk court recognized his logo as "extremist stuff."

On August 14, it became known that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus had opened proceedings against the founder of the opposition telegram channels Nekhta and Nekhta Live, Stepan Putylo and declared him wanted. He faces up to 15 years in prison. Putyla is accused of organizing mass riots.

In August, Russia's Interior Ministry put Stepan Putilo, the founder of the Nexta Telegram channel on a wanted list.

The telegram channel Nexta Live, despite the shutdown of the Internet, became the main source of information about the protests in Belarus.

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