MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. The recent ban on flights through Belarusian airspace demonstrates Western nations’ utter irresponsibility towards their citizens as well as their reckless endangerment of passenger security, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook on Friday.
"What Western countries have done by prohibiting flights through the airspace of Belarus for political reasons is utter irresponsibility that endangers the security of passengers. It turns out that despite its sluggishness on other essential issues, the European political elite can redraw the routes of hundreds of flights within a day, creating huge problems for the public," the spokeswoman pointed out.
In today’s European Union, "politics constantly elbows out common sense," Zakharova insisted. "It is high time for Brussels to learn how to take effective measures for the citizenry’s real security and not the imaginary kind," the Russian diplomat emphasized.
A passenger jet belonging to Ryanair, an Irish low-cost airline, performing a flight from Athens to Vilnius on May 23 was forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a bomb threat on board the plane had been reported. The quick reaction alert crew of a MiG-29 fighter jet was dispatched to escort the airliner.
A subsequent search after the aircraft had touched down in the Belarusian capital failed to find any information confirming this fact. The Belarusian Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe into a deliberately false bomb scare.
Minsk later specified that Roman Protasevich, wanted in Belarus as a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel deemed extremist, had been among the flight’s passengers. He was taken into custody by law enforcement agents, together with Sofiya Sapega, a young Russian woman traveling with him.
The European Union’s summit held after the Ryanair incident decided to ban Belarusian air carriers from carrying out flights to European airports and through the EU’s airspace. It also recommended that European air carriers avoid flying over Belarusian territory. Some countries have already closed their airspace to Belavia, the Belarusian state-run airline.