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Lithuania to investigate Sweden’s plane flight in its airspace

August 17, 2012, 3:05 UTC+3
Minsk addressed Vilnius and Stockholm with a request to provide assistance in investigating a criminal case on violation of the state border
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VILNIUS, August 17 (Itar-Tass) — Lithuania decided to conduct a preliminary investigation on possible violation of its airspace by a Swedish small single-engine propeller plane on July 4.

On Thursday Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service announced about the start of a pre-trial investigation.

In early July a small single-engine plane with two Swedish citizens onboard crossed the border of Belarus taking off from neighbouring Lithuania. It spend an hour and 20 minutes in the airspace of Belarus dropping several hundreds of teddy bears with signs promoting democracy on the cities of Ivenets and Minsk.

Minsk addressed Vilnius and Stockholm with a request to provide assistance in investigating a criminal case on violation of the state border.

“The investigation began under the articles of the Criminal Code envisaging responsibility for illegal crossing of the state border and violation of the international flight rules,” Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service said.

The Baltic state’s prosecutor-general’s office will conduct the investigation.

The Lithuanian authorities make mutually exclusive statements on this issue. Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene denied the fact of violation of Lithuania’s airspace. “There were no violations,” she said last week.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian armed forces spokesman Skomantas Povilionis told reporters soon after the incident that “violation of the rules for aircraft movement was registered in Lithuania’s airspace.”

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