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Belavia: Ukraine threatened to launch fighter jets to intercept plane

Belavia: Ukraine threatened to launch fighter jets to intercept plane

Belarusian passenger plane forced to return to Kiev airport

According to the statement issued by Belavia Belarusian Airlines – the flag carrier and national airline of Belarus, Ukraine’s Security Service forced Belavia passenger plane, en route from Kiev to Minsk, to turn around and return to Kiev, threatening to launch fighter jets to intercept it.

According to the airline’s statement, its passenger plane bound for Minsk was forced to return to Zhulyany airport after plane’s pilot received an order from a Ukrainian traffic controller to immediately head back, with no further explanation.


“On October 21, 2016, Belavia Boeing 737-800 number EW-456PA, carrying out flight V2-840 from Zhulyany (Kiev) to Minsk was forced to return to the departure airport. There were 136 passengers and six crew members on board,” Belavia said in a statement, noting that, according to the flight schedule, the plane was a mere 50 kilometers from the Belarusian border when it was ordered to turn back.

“It was also stated [by the traffic controllers] that in case the order was not fulfilled, fighter jets would be sent into the air,” the statement continued.

The conversation between the pilot and air traffic controllers, including the threat to send fighter jets to intercept the plane, has been recorded and is currently in possession of Belavia, the company’s deputy director general, Igor Cherginets, claims.



Upon landing in Kiev, one of the passengers was taken off the flight by Ukrainian law enforcement before the plane was refueled and allowed to continue its flight to Minsk.

Belavia airlines offered an apology to its passengers for the inconvenience, saying it intends to request compensation for the detour from Ukraine’s aviation authorities. However, Ukraine’s aviation authorities, insist the plane was ordered to return to Kiev to comply with an order from the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), which explained that they had received intelligence about a possible threat to national security on board the plane in question.

“Yesterday, our office received information about a foreign citizen and a possible threat to national security of our country. At the time we received this information, the person in question, as it appeared, was on board the Belavia airlines aircraft, which was supposed to depart to Minsk,” the chief of staff of the SSU, Alexander Tkachuk, told 112 Ukraine broadcaster, adding that the SSU had acted within the framework of the law. He also refuted claims that Ukraine had threatened to scramble fighter jets to intercept the plane, calling them “absurd.”

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