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Putin describes situation after Ryanair flight landing in Minsk as outburst of emotions

Russian President is having a meeting with his visiting Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi

SOCHI, May 28. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday developments around Belarus following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk are yet another outburst of emotions.

Putin is having a meeting with his visiting Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi.

"Thank you for coming here, as we agreed even before the current outburst of emotions," Putin said welcoming Lukashenko. "Yes, it is an outburst of emotions."

"But we have topics to discuss without these developments," he added.

Russian President noted during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart that there was no reaction in the West after a forced landing of a plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2013.

"The plane of the Bolivian president was forced to land once. The president was led out of the plane and nothing, silence," the head of state said during the discussion of a Ryanair flight landing in Minsk.

On July 2, 2013, the plane with Morales aboard, who was the president of Bolivia at the time, returning from Moscow’s Gas Exporting Countries Forum, was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Austria’s capital. This happened after several European countries - Spain, Italy, Portugal and France - recalled the plane’s permit to cross their airspace.

This incident was caused by suspicions that former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden was aboard the presidential plane. Bolivia and other Latin American countries condemned the incident, seeing it as an attempt on Morales’ life and a blatant violation of international law.

Earlier, six United Nations Security Council members (the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, the United States, France, and Estonia), as well as Belgium and Germany strongly condemned the incident of the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, saying it was a threat to European security. They also called for the immediate release of Roman Protasevich, one of the co-founders of the Nexta Telegram channel, which was recognized as extremist in Belarus, and Russian national Sofia Sapega, who were detained after the landing. They also demanded the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conduct an immediate probe.

A passenger jet belonging to Ryanair, an Irish low-cost airline, performing a flight from Athens to Vilnius on May 23 made an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a bomb threat on board the plane had been reported. The plane was escorted to Minsk airport by a MiG-29 fighter jet and landed safely. Upon inspection, no bomb was found. Protasevich was among the passengers. Protasevich, currently living in Lithuania and wanted in Belarus, and Sapega were detained after the airliner had landed in the Belarusian capital. The plane left Minsk and continued to Vilnius later the same day.