UN aviation agency to investigate plane grounding in Belarus
The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on Thursday agreed to probe the forced grounding of a Ryanair passenger plane (RYA.I) in Minsk, Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said.
The Board of Directors of the 36 ICAO countries met to consider requests from the United States and several allies for an investigation into the incident. Ryan said ICAO will produce an interim report by June 25.
“We fully support ICAO’s decision to conduct a transparent and independent investigation into the incident in Belarus and welcome the support of our international colleagues to ensure this is done,” Ryan added in a statement.
Belarus scrambled a fighter and used a false bomb threat to divert the flight to Minsk and arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist. The plane, traveling from Athens to Vilnius, was almost in Lithuanian airspace when ordered to land.
The incident has sparked international outrage and calls for sanctions against Belarus. Minsk accused the West of using the episode to wage a “hybrid war” against him.
“These unacceptable actions constituted an attack on European aviation security and endangered the lives of passengers and crew as they traveled between two EU capitals,” said Ryan.
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