Ryanair flight lands in Vilnius after forced landing in Minsk
A Ryanair flight flying from Athens to Vilnius has finally landed at the Vilnius airport after a forced landing in Minsk, Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Sunday.
"The plane has landed at the Lithuanian capital’s airport," he told journalists.
There were some 170 passengers from 12 counties, including 90 Lithuanian nationals, onboard the plane.
Roman Protasevich, a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel, which had been recognized as extremist in Belarus, was among the passengers. He is wanted in Belarus and is living in Lithuania. The man was detained after the plane’s landing in Minsk.
Belarus’ defense ministry later confirmed that a MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled on Sunday to escort the Ryanair passenger plane that made emergency landing at Minsk’s airport. "After the polit of this civil aircraft decided to land at an alternate airport (Minsk-2) and turned the plane towards Minsk, it was decided to scramble a MiG-29 crew on duty from the Baranovichi airport (Brest region)," the ministry said on its Telegram channel, citing Andrei Gurtsevich, chief of the air operations and first deputy commander of Belarus air and air defense forces.
The Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius made an emergency landing at Minsk’s airport after a reported bomb threat. The plane landed safely. No bomb was found inside. A criminal case was opened in Belarus.