MINSK, May 26. /TASS/. Roman Protasevich, detained at Minsk Airport, is giving confessionary statements and disclosing information on the sponsors of subversive activity in Belarus, Chairman of the republic’s State Security Committee (KGB) Ivan Tertel said at a meeting of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with lawmakers in the national parliament on Wednesday.
"Now he [Protasevich] is giving testimony on the sponsors of subversive activity against Belarus, its mechanisms, the special services, politicians and organizations behind it. I promise that we will shortly reveal the details," the state-run news agency BelTA quoted the KGB chief as saying.
The fears of Protasevich’s patrons "about active cooperation with the investigation" are obvious, Tertel said.
The KGB chief stated that Protasevich fought as a mercenary in the Azov battalion in Ukraine. "It is an indisputable fact that this individual fully fits into the definition of a terrorist, a militant-mercenary and a participant in bloody events in the ranks of the notorious Azov battalion linked with outrages and the deaths of civilians in southeastern Ukraine. These are not only our and investigators’ data, these are also the facts reported in the media with Protasevich’s personal confessions that are widely accessible," the KGB chief said.
Protasevich "actively used the experience" gained in Ukraine "against Belarus," Tertel said. "He was an organizer and coordinator of mass riots that endangered the lives and health of ordinary citizens and law enforcers. He is also the head of an Internet channel legitimately recognized by our legislation as extremist," the KGB chief stressed.
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 reports of a bomb on the plane. 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 explosives.
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.