The US and Europe are demonising Belarusian authorities. They assert that Belarus is the source of threat for regional and international security. The aim of it is to justify any actions against Minsk.
The landing of Ryanair flight 4978 in Belarus was decided by the pilot of the Ryanair flight himself. Even if it had been Lukashenko's decision, such a decision would have been inspired by the forced landing, on US orders, of Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane in 2013.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the forced diversion and landing in Belarus of Ryanair flight 4978.
On Sunday, 23 May 2021, the Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced to turn back minutes before crossing the Lithuanian border and to land in the Belarusian capital. The pretext for landing in Minsk was a false report about a bomb on board. At the moment when the plane changed course, it was closer to Vilnius airport than to Minsk. The Belarusian Ministry of Transport has published the transcript of the communication. From this source, it is clear that the instructions to land at Minsk came from air traffic control (ATC). The plane was forcibly diverted to the Belarusian capital by a Belarusian MIG-29 military jet. The plane’s landing in the Belarusian capital was, therefore, not the Ryanair pilots' decision.
At the airport in Minsk, the Belarusian journalist, blogger and opponent in exile Raman Pratasevich, a prominent critic of Belarus's authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who was a passenger on board the flight, was arrested.
The whole incident has been described as a serious breach of international aviation law and denounced as an act of “piracy” and “state-sponsored hijacking” by Ryanair.
EU decided on 21 June 2021 a further, 4th package of sanctions in relation to the forced landing of the Ryanair flight.
Furthermore, this event is not comparable to the forced landing in 2013 of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane in Austria, as the article claims.
The claim about the alleged similarities between the Ryanair flight and that of President Evo Morales has been largely debunked. In 2013, under the Obama administration, Bolivian President Evo Morales' flight was forced to land in Austria under pressure from the US, which believed former NSA agent and fugitive Edward Snowden was on board. Unlike the Ryanair flight, the landing of Morales' plane in Austria followed bureaucratic procedures and there were no armed military planes involved or pretexts of bombs on board. According to Bolivian officials, European nations refused it permission to enter their airspace, leaving the Morales flight with no clear route. The plane subsequently landed in Austria because it needed to refuel, and Heinz Fischer, Austria’s president at the time, met with Morales at the airport.
Read similar cases claiming that Belarus acted in full accordance with international law when Ryanair pilot decided to land in Minsk, that Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight was forced to land just like the 2013 flight of Evo Morales , that the Ryanair pilot took the decision to perform emergency landing at Minsk and that the West protested the arrest of Pratasevich, but the incident is similar to the one with Evo Morales.