Disinfo: ICAO investigation over the Ryanair flight incident is questionable because of UN's bias

Summary

The International Civil Aviation Organization is the UN’s specialised agency. You cannot hope that it is impartial and not dependent on third parties. The UN closely cooperates with the US and EU; it often takes their hopes and considerations into account. Yet, given that Russia spoke for international investigation [concerning the Ryanair flight FR4879], there is a chance that more or less factual investigation will take place.

Disproof

This publication fits the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about ubiquitous Russophobia and anti-Russian attitudes in international organisations, even though the incident did not concern Russia as such. It is implied that Russian allies, Belarus in this case, are also subject to western bias and provocations.

On 23 May 2021, the Minsk Air Control reported a bomb on board the aircraft Ryanair flight FR4987 en route from Athens to Vilnius and demanded the flight redirected to Minsk. As the plane landed, a dissident journalist wanted by the Belarusian authorities for “extremism” was detained. No bombs were found. In the afternoon of 24 May, Belarusian authorities claimed that the Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas had organised the bomb threat, allegedly to force the EU to demand an Israeli cease-fire in Gaza. This came several days after a cease-fire had already been negotiated. In addition, the alleged bomb threat came after the the Air Traffic Controllers told the plane to divert to Minsk.

On 27 May 2021, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council expressed its strong concern at the “apparent forced diversion of Ryanair Flight FR4978.” “Recalling Article 55 (e) of the Chicago Convention, the Council decided to undertake a fact-finding investigation of this event, and in this connection requested the ICAO Secretariat to prepare an interim report to the Council for a subsequent meeting of the current session, presenting the available facts and relevant legal instruments,” ICAO statement of 27 May 2021 reads.

The ICAO is a specialised and funding agency of the United Nations; literally all countries in the world are ICAO members. The Council of ICAO is elected by the Assembly every 3 years and consists of 36 members elected in 3 groups. There is no reason to question the ICAO’s impartiality. The claim that the ICAO’s investigation will likely be biased due to the UN’s cooperation with the US and EU does not make sense, since the UN as the largest international organisation cooperates with each and every member state.

For background, read our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings and look at earlier disinformation cases alleging that there is no evidence that Russian athletes used doping, that there is no need for international organisations, and that Russia’s prospective Olympic ban is a symptom of Western Russophobia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 247
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Russia, US, EU
  • Keywords: UN, Ryanair Flight 4978
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Disinfo: Ryanair flight 4978 incident was organised to damage the image of president Lukashenka

Hijacking Ryanair flight 4978 is shameful. But why did the Belarussian do this?

Why create a diplomatic incident when the disadvantages would outweigh the advantages?

Stopping Raman Pratasevich doesn't help much, it's marginal. There is a war inside Belarus, between the president and its intelligence services. The president used them to reach 80% at the presidential election when only 60% of the electors voted for him. Since then, the secret services became almighty and want to trap Lukashenka. They might have manipulated him to make him believe that there was truly a bomb in the plane, or maybe he only pretended to believe them in order to reverse the trap and blame the secret services for this crime. These are very interesting speculations.

Disproof

One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives around the hijacking of RyanAir flight 4978. The article aims to exonerate Alyaksandr Lukashenka from any responsibility for the incident by blaming shadowy people/the security services who purportedly organised the incident to damage the image of the Belarus president. It is not the first time this theory is advanced, see here.

The analysis is based only on the cui bono / who’s interests does it serve question. The article posits that since the disadvantages of hijacking a commercial plane to arrest an insignificant young journalist vastly exceed the advantages, then this was done by someone in the shadows - the security services - aiming to hurt the president.

Disinfo: Atlantic politicians protest about the Ryanair flight, but remain silent when NATO does the same

Mainstream media and Atlantic politicians make noise about the hijacked Ryanair flight, but refrain from pointing out that the method used by Minsk, was actually used by NATO without making such a fuss. Under American pressure, France and Spain used false reasons to close their airspaces and force the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales to land on the runway of an Austrian airport, because Washington believed that Edward Snowden was on that plane. The Ukrainian authorities also forced a Belarusian plane to make a turn and land to remove the Armenian anti-Maidan activist, Armen Martirosyan, from the cabin.

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: The president of Poland wants Georgia to fight with Russia

If Russia is supposed to be the “aggressor”, Georgia should be admitted to NATO as President Duda repeatedly mentioned during his visit to this country. It does not matter [for Poland] that such a decision would violate the obligations existing between NATO and Russia. It does not matter that this decision would inevitably increase the risk of another conflict. What matters is that Russia must be fought not only “until the last Ukrainian”, but also “until the last Georgian”. This step was suggested by Andrzej Duda to the Georgian “friends”, which proves that he does not wish them well.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative presenting the Polish foreign policy the as Russophobic, aggressive and destabilising.

The claims that Poland uses Georgia and Ukraine in order to achieve its anti-Russian goals or even to inspire new conflicts in these countries are untrue. Read about Polish-Georgian relations here.