Russian Diplomat Slams West’s Reaction to Ryanair Flight Incident as Hysteria

Russian Diplomat Slams West’s Reaction to Ryanair Flight Incident as Hysteria

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The reaction by Western countries to the emergency landing of a Ryanair flight in the Belarusian capital of Minsk is nothing more than hysteria, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday.

Speaking to the Vesti FM radio station, she pointed out that several planes had been forced to land at the request of Western nations in the past, particularly for political reasons.

"Seizure through force was used to detain people and arrest them without a court ruling, only based on material planted by intelligence agencies and staged provocations, third-country citizens were illegally moved from one country to another. But there it doesn’t count, it’s just something routine for them. However, based on this the West is getting all riled up into hysteria for some reason. And we understand why. It is because the subject of Belarus is on the agenda," Zakharova explained, TASS reported.

A Vilnius-bound Ryanair flight that took off from Athens was forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport on May 23 after a reported bomb threat, which came up empty. Minsk specified that Roman Protasevich, wanted in Belarus as a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel, which Belarus recognized as extremist, had been among the flight’s passengers. He was detained by law enforcement officers. The flight departed to Vilnius later that same day.

On Monday, EU leaders prohibited Belarusian air companies from using the European Union’s airspace and airports and recommended that European air carriers refrain from using Belarusian airspace. In addition, the summit introduced new sanctions against Belarus, demanding that Protasevich be released, and called on the International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate the incident. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen slammed the incident as "a hijacking" and "an attack on European sovereignty."

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