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Minsk protests against Ukraine's forced return to Kiev of Belavia plane

MINSK, October 22. /TASS/. Belarus has protested against Ukraine's actions to return by force on October 21 a Belavia plane to Kiev. The republic's Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine's Charge d'Affairs in Belarus Valery Dzhigun, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Saturday.

"During a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission was given a note, in which the Belarusian side protested against Ukraine's actions to return by force a Belarusian plane of the Belavia Company, which made B2 840 regular flight from Kiev to Minsk," the Foreign Ministry said.

The note reads, "the Belarusian side expects official apologies and demands reimbursement of all financial costs and expenses incurred by actions of the Ukrainian side." The Foreign Ministry ordered the Ambassador to Kiev Igor Sokol to hand in a similar note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

On October 21, a Boeing 737-800 of the Belavia Company, which served a Kiev-Minsk flight, had to return to the Ukrainian airport. On board the plane were 136 passengers and 6 crew. 50 kilometers before the Belarusian air space, the captain received instructions from the dispatcher to return immediately to the departure airport - no reasons were presented at the time.

The Belarusian company said the dispatcher told the captain "in case of disobeying the order, fighters will take off." As the plane landed at the Ukrainian airport, the local law enforcers detained a passenger, who is a citizen of Armenia. After the refueling, the plane left for Minsk and later on landed there safely. Later on, the law enforcers released the man and he took an evening flight to Minsk.