Disinfo: Belarus acted in strict accordance with international law in the Ryanair incident

Summary

The emergency landing of a Ryanair plane yesterday must be viewed from the point of view of aviation safety and security, which the Belarusian side guaranteed. The Belarusian authorities acted in strict accordance with international rules, while Western countries politicised the situation and jumped to hasty conclusions.

Disproof

It is not true that Belarus acted in accordance with international law in the Ryanair forced landing incident which took place on 23 May 2021. This claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged.

Ryanair flight FR4978 was intercepted by military jets while en route from Athens to Vilnius. Minsk air control reported a bomb threat and requested the aircraft divert to Minsk. A Belarus Air Force MiG-29 forced the plane to divert to Minsk, even though Vilnius airport was much closer.

Article 1 of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (aka Montreal Convention), which Belarus is a party to, states that any person commits an offence if he unlawfully and intentionally “communicates information which he knows to be false, thereby endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight.” Accordingly, Belarus has committed a serious violation of the international treaty by reporting a bomb threat and tailing the aircraft forcing it to land in Minsk airport instead of more nearby airports. The incident is investigated as an act of terrorism by Lithuanian authorities.

Consequently, Article 10 of the convention states that when, due to the commission of one of the offences mentioned in Article 1, a flight has been delayed or interrupted, any Contracting State in whose territory the aircraft or passengers or crew are present shall facilitate the continuation of the journey of the passengers and crew as soon as practicable, and shall without delay return the aircraft and its cargo to the persons lawfully entitled to possession. Belarus failed to facilitate the continuation of the passengers' journey by arresting a Belarusian opposition journalist, who was a passenger onboard the aircraft and is wanted in Belarus for unfounded charges of extremism. The plane was also kept at the airport for seven hours before allowed to continue to Vilnius.

Willie Walsh, the director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), wrote that “IATA strongly condemns any interference or requirement for landing of civil aviation operations that is inconsistent with the rules of international law". The statement said that the details of the event are not clear and called for a full investigation by competent international authorities.

On 24 May 2021, in a declaration on behalf of the EU on the forced diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978 to Minsk on 23 May 2021, the High Representative called for the immediate release of detained journalist Mr Pratasevich. This was followed by a European Council statement, in which the EU leaders called for targeted individual and economic sanctions as well as a ban on flights over EU airspace by Belarusian airlines as well as preventing these flights from accessing airports in the EU airports.

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  • Reported in: Issue 245
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Lithuania, Greece
  • Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko, International Law, Freedom of speech

Belarus

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Disinfo: After a coup in 2000, the US, UK and the EU took control of Serbia's security, defence services

After the coup d'ètat in Serbia in 2000 the US, the UK and their EU slaves have taken control over Serbia's security services and defence sector, colonising the country. Serbia has become a Western colony because of traitors in the state apparatus and NGOs who have been brainwashed and paid by the West.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU and US presence in Europe.

There was no coup d'ètat in Serbia in 2000. On October 5, 2000, ten days after the presidential elections won by Vojislav Kostunica, the regime of President Slobodan Milošević, who had just passed a law specifically designed to guarantee him a further term in office, fell. Despite being defeated by the multi-party democratic coalition, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) largely supported by public opinion, the government-controlled Federal Electoral Committee claimed that no candidate won over 50% of the votes and that a second round between Koštunica and Milošević would take place.

Disinfo: The West employs double standards in its treatment of the Ryanair flight incident in Belarus

It is appalling that the West describes the incident in the airspace of Belarus as shocking. The life of civilised democracies, which in reality takes place according to the principle of quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi (what is permissible for Jupiter may not be permissible for a bull), has not been unique for a long time because these democracies have lost the true leadership qualities they once possessed, and caused the blood and suffering of millions around the world.

Either you express your shock at everything: from forcing the plane of the President of Bolivia to make an emergency landing in Austria at the request of the United States, and forcing a Belarusian plane to land in Ukraine 11 minutes after taking off with a Ukrainian opposition activist, or you do not.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the interception of the Ryanair flight FR4987 claiming that it is standard practice. None of the examples cited in the claim involved tailing by fighter jets, the communication of false information or crackdowns on the political opposition.

On 23 May 2021, a Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet belonging to the Belarusian Airforce armed with air-to-air missiles intercepted Ryanair flight FR4987 en route from Athens to Vilnius. The Minsk Air Control reported a bomb on board the aircraft and demanded the flight redirected to Minsk. As the plane landed, a dissident journalist wanted by the Belarusian authorities for “extremism” was detained.

Disinfo: Minsk forced Ryanair flight to land in full accordance with international law

In forcing the Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight to land in Minsk, the Belarusian flight authorities followed all international norms.

Disproof

Roman Pratasevich was detained in Minsk airport when flying from Athens to Vilnius.

On Sunday, May 23, 2021, the Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced to turn back before crossing the Lithuanian border and land in the Belarusian capital. The pretext for landing in Minsk was a false report about the bomb on board. At the moment when the plane changed course, it was closer to Vilnius airport than to Minsk. The plane was forced to land in the Belarusian capital by a Belarusian military aircraft.

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