UN agency finishes report on flight diverted to Belarus

Written by on January 18, 2022

The report about the investigation into a Ryanair flight that was diverted to Belarus last year is complete, the International Civil Aviation Organization said Monday, adding that next steps will be set in late January.

All 193 members of the ICAO, including the 36 states currently serving on the organization’s council, were given access to the report Monday, the United Nations agency said in a statement.

The report details the circumstances around the May 23, 2021 incident in which Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko drew international outrage by sending fighter jets to intercept a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius.

The plane was forced to land in Minsk, where Belarusian authorities arrested dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega, who were passengers onboard.

Several countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union announced sanctions against Belarus in response.

“Council representatives will formally consider any further actions to be taken by ICAO as a result of the report’s findings during a meeting presently scheduled for 31 January,” the Montreal-based organization said.

“On that day the Council will also review a request from Belarus regarding what the State considers to have been unlawful restrictions or sanctions which were placed upon it in the aftermath of the event, by other States and the EU,” it added.

The report, which had been previously delayed, was composed by a team of ICAO investigators made up of experts in air safety and navigation, aircraft operation and international air law.


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