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Belarusian MIG forces down Ryanair flight to detain dissident.

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  • Belarusian MIG forces down Ryanair flight to detain dissident.

    This is next level. A Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted over Belarus on the order of President Lukashenko. The crew was told of a 'security threat', escorted by MIG 29 and instructed to divert to Minsk despite being much closer to their intended destination of Vilnius.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/23/w...r-belarus.html

    So, what's the protocol here? This is essentially a hijacking. Does the crew have to follow the instruction? It's not as if Lukashenko was going to shoot it down. Interceptors are dispatched to protect against suicide attacks in the threatened nation and the flight was cruise level and about to leave Belarusian airspace. Any threat would be against Lithuanian targets. Couldn't they simply ignore the intercept and continue on their heading out of Belarusian airspace? The dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich, told his fellow pasengers that he would be arrested and face the death penalty if they diverted to Minsk.

    Is there some law in commercial aviation stating that a flight must obey an intercept within a country's airspace?

    If the intercept even threatened to fire upon them, that would be a huge, international incident that Lukashenko definitely doesn't need.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Evan View Post
    Is there some law in commercial aviation stating that a flight must obey an intercept within a country's airspace?
    Yes, there is. I think it is the Chicago convention.
    But I also think the same convention prevents from unduly interfering with a flight.

    If the intercept even threatened to fire upon them, that would be a huge, international incident that Lukashenko definitely doesn't need.
    This was hijacking of an airplane performed by a state. This should be more than enough to consider it a huge international incident. I doubt that anybody will do anything because nobody (including the EU and the USA) wants problems with Russia.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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    • #3
      the crew was informed by belarusan atc that there was a bomb threat. so aside from the mig, the crew made a halfway decent decision, even if vilnius was a closer airport.

      belarus should be aviation blacklisted.

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      • #4
        I just noted something odd in the AvHerald coverage:

        A Ryanair Sun Boeing 737-800, registration SP-RSM performing flight FR-4978 from Athens (Greece) to Vilnius (Lithuania), was enroute at FL390 about 45nm south of Vilnius

        --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
        --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Evan View Post
          This is next level. A Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted over Belarus on the order of President Lukashenko. The crew was told of a 'security threat', escorted by MIG 29 and instructed to divert to Minsk despite being much closer to their intended destination of Vilnius.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/23/w...r-belarus.html

          So, what's the protocol here? This is essentially a hijacking. Does the crew have to follow the instruction? It's not as if Lukashenko was going to shoot it down. Interceptors are dispatched to protect against suicide attacks in the threatened nation and the flight was cruise level and about to leave Belarusian airspace. Any threat would be against Lithuanian targets. Couldn't they simply ignore the intercept and continue on their heading out of Belarusian airspace? The dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich, told his fellow pasengers that he would be arrested and face the death penalty if they diverted to Minsk.

          Is there some law in commercial aviation stating that a flight must obey an intercept within a country's airspace?

          If the intercept even threatened to fire upon them, that would be a huge, international incident that Lukashenko definitely doesn't need.
          Being a russian dissident I contacted a number of (temporary free) dissidents from Belarus. They say Lukashenko now doesn't even care about EU and US reaction (and any protocols), being sure Russia would support him. It all began gowing downhill after the "elections" last year followed by mass protests resulting in thousands being arrested, tortured, state-sanctioned murders. He would do anything to stay in power and if it means shooting down a plane full of civilians he would do it without hesitation. The situation is more than FUBAR there and honestly we don't know how it is going to end.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NY Times
            The tray tables were being raised and the seat backs returned to the upright position as passengers on Ryanair Flight 4978 prepared for the scheduled landing in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. Then, suddenly, the plane made an abrupt U-turn.

            There was no explanation given.

            It would be roughly 15 minutes before the pilot came over the intercom and announced that the plane would be diverting to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, according to those on board.
            So, on descent to final destination, a flight is informed of a bomb threat. Protocol? Land asap. Not circle back to a much more distant destination. Faced with choosing between a potential bomb and a meddlesome MIG, minutes from departing Belarusian airspace, it seems prudent to declare emergency, inform atc of your intentions to land asap and simply continue on flight plan. It also sounds like the passengers were unaware of the MIG. But also, if you choose to divert, talk to the passengers! Make something up if you have to. Reticence incites panic.

            But in these days of bald, dictatorial aggression, It's hard to gauge the stupidity. Would that MIG engage a civilian airliner and risk starting a war with the west? You actually can't rule it out. Hopefully Belarusian airspace will be now closed for a certain, educational span of time.

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            • #7
              If lying bout a bomb threat and using a military fighter to forcefully divert a flight from a EU country to another EU country and then kidnap a passenger that was in the plane under the jurisdiction of a third EU country is not a declaration of war, I don't know what it is.

              Hopefully Belarusian airspace will be now closed for a certain, educational span of time.
              Will not make much difference. Just a stopover in Russia.

              Hopefully the EU launched an educational military rescue mission. But they won't.

              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

              Comment


              • #8
                EU sanctions are out. All Belarus airlines (of which I think there are like 1) are banned from EU airspace and airports. That sends a very clear message to those eve considering doing this again the future: Go ahead, we will take strong symbolic measures but nothing of substance.

                How about AT LEAST they also banned all EU airlines from flying to Belarus together with banning all flights departing from or with destination or stopover in Belarus from flying over the EU? That would at least be an annoyance for Belarus since people would have flight would need to drive/fly to/from Smolensk or Moscow (200 and 400 miles from Minsk respectively) to connect Belarus with the western world via air. With the current regulations you can still have straight-line non-stop flights between Minsk and anywhere in the world including the main EU capitals provided that it is not in a (the) Belarus airline.

                Shame on you EU!

                --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                • #9
                  yeah this will ruffle some feathers...

                  this is what happens when we allow dictatorial regimes to flourish while we look the other way. on the other hand, every time we intervene in shit abroad we incur the wrath of half the planet.

                  so, forget sanctions. cuba proved completely that they dont work worth a damn. a total isolation from a very large block of countries might work, or not. pass a law prohibiting belarus from overflying and they do it anyway, what will the eu do? shoot them down? hahaha not those bleeding heart socialists!

                  so like Gabe said, nothing of anything will be done and the world will simply leave yet another dictator to be.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Could be a fascinating partisan discussion on which US President would issue a better “strongly-worded-statement”.
                    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pandapilot View Post

                      Being a russian dissident I contacted a number of (temporary free) dissidents from Belarus. They say Lukashenko now doesn't even care about EU and US reaction (and any protocols), being sure Russia would support him.
                      Вот это я понимаю, настоящие диссиденты. Это вы там типа Америку открыли, что Батьке всё и вся похрен, пока он Солнцеликому по душе? Или вы думали он там в Минске случайно треть века сидит?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                        How about AT LEAST they also banned all EU airlines from flying to Belarus together with banning all flights departing from or with destination or stopover in Belarus from flying over the EU? That would at least be an annoyance for Belarus since people would have flight would need to drive/fly to/from Smolensk or Moscow (200 and 400 miles from Minsk respectively) to connect Belarus with the western world via air. With the current regulations you can still have straight-line non-stop flights between Minsk and anywhere in the world including the main EU capitals provided that it is not in a (the) Belarus airline.
                        The EU has to walk a fine line between punishing the dictator and punishing the more than half of Belarusians who despise him. Isolating Belarus is not the wise move right now. However, out of caution, I do think theu should close the airspace over Belarus to all flights not originating or departing from the country. And sanctions have been imposed that will hopefully erode the tolerance of his wavering supporters including important business interests.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan View Post
                          And sanctions have been imposed that will hopefully erode the tolerance of his wavering supporters including important business interests.
                          The ones that were already in effect when they hijacked a plane and kidnaped a passenger?

                          --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                          --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gabriel View Post

                            The ones that were already in effect when they hijacked a plane and kidnaped a passenger?
                            New ones:

                            https://www.reuters.com/world/europe...us-2021-05-24/

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                            • #15
                              Click image for larger version

Name:	20210526 Flight B2869.PNG
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                              Belarusian flight B2869 from Minsk to Barcelona returned to Minsk this morning after being advised by Polish air traffic control that it did not have clearance to enter French airspace.

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