Troubling Ryanair Belarus Flight Diversion: Fake Bomb Threat To Arrest A Journalist?

Troubling Ryanair Belarus Flight Diversion: Fake Bomb Threat To Arrest A Journalist?

57

While details are still emerging, on the surface this seems highly problematic

Ryanair flight diverts to Minsk, Belarus

Ryanair flight FR4978 was scheduled to operate today from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. However, the flight didn’t quite go as planned.

As the Boeing 737-800 was over Belarusian airspace, and as it was about to enter Lithuanian airspace, it made a sharp turn, and diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

There are a variety of reasons that diversions can happen, ranging from medical emergencies to mechanical failures. However, as you’ll notice when looking at the flight path, at the point of diversion the plane was roughly the same distance from Vilnius and Minsk.

So, why would the flight divert? Well, reports suggest that this diversion was due to a “bomb threat.” Could the Belarusian government be behind that, though?

Wanted Belarusian journalist was on flight

Roman Protasevich is a well known Belarusian journalist who nowadays lives in Lithuania, and he happened to be on this flight.

Belarus had a presidential election in August 2020, with the incumbent candidate (who has been in office since 1994) winning once again. With the exception of the first election, all have been viewed almost universally (outside of Belarus) as having been neither free nor fair.

Protasevich is a journalist who has been in opposition to president Lukashenko, and who has exposed police brutality in the country. In late 2020 there was an attempt by the government to label Protasevich as a terrorist for his “extremist” views, which is punishable in the country by life imprisonment or death.

Now, it’s one thing if Protasevich were flying to Belarus, but that wasn’t the case here. He was flying between two other countries, and the flight happened to use Belarusian airspace. The alleged reason for the diversion was a bomb threat, but obviously that’s a very suspicious explanation. Since the plane was roughly the same distance from the two airports, why would this cause the plane to divert to Minsk?

If this situation is indeed as it appears to be, I hope other countries take action against Belarus, as this would be such an incredible violation of how international aviation is supposed to work. Belavia is the airline owned by the government of Belarus, so it seems appropriate that restrictions should be placed on what airspace the airline can use.

I also wonder how exactly the logistics of this worked — who received the bomb threat, and did Belarusian air traffic control pressure the Ryanair pilots into diverting to Minsk, or how exactly did this all go down?

There are a lot of unknowns as of now, but this is very alarming.

Update: It’s now being reported that the Ryanair crew didn’t buy the story about the bomb threat, and was intercepted and forced down by a Belarusian fighter jet.

Bottom line

A Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius diverted to Minsk today. A journalist who opposes the country’s undemocratically elected president happened to be on the flight, and was allegedly detained when the flight diverted. He has been labeled by the country as a terrorist, and that’s punishable by a lifetime jail sentence or even death.

It’s bad enough to go such great lengths to not allow free speech in your own country, but to divert a flight to another country with a fake “bomb threat” to potentially arrest a journalist is beyond troubling.

I’ll be watching to see how this plays out…

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  1. VitaliU

    He was likely tailed in Athens. Once the flight was in Belarusian air space, the fake bomb report was sent and the Belarusian Air Force fighter forced them to land in Minsk, even though they were almost in Lithuanian air space.
    Protasevich is the regime's enemy #1, so I shudder to think what will happen to him. I hope the EU and IATA take measures because this is state sponsored kidnapping and possible murder, not that different to what happened to Khashoggi

  2. Pierre

    Nothing new... In 1957, the French authorities diverted to Algiers a flight between Morocco and Spain. Ahmed Ben Bella was on board, an Algerian independentist leader and conducting from Morocco a struggle against France. The airline, Air Maroc, was mostly French-owned.

    He was jailed in Algiers but still became the first President of Algeria 5 years later.

  3. Joe Chivas

    I love it. Hardball politics at its very best.

  4. VitaliU

    @ Joe Chivas - that journalist is probably being tortured as as we speak. What's not to love. Really?

  5. Alvertos R

    @ Joe Chivas - Shame on you.

    @ Ben - Please do follow up on this and keep us posted.

  6. OMG

    MINSK: UPDATE: The plane was intercepted and forced down by a military Mig-29 fighter jet after flight crew didn't buy the story that there were explosives on board.
    https://twitter.com/KolHaolam/status/1396459374122573829

  7. Bagoly

    @OMG
    That explains why the flight path shows them so close to free airspace.
    Credit to the pilots for not buying the fiction.
    They are probably kicking themselves for not having turned west to Polish airspace immediately the fiction was served.
    I hope Ryanair announces that it will avoid Belarusian airspace in future.

  8. Dave

    It appears that it would have been FASTER for the plane to continue its planned descent into Vilnius vs diverting all the way to Minsk. Not saying this isn't suspicious, but Minsk is also a much bigger city with a bigger aiport and potential resources to handle an emergency. Its still suspicious but hopefully the EU and other agencies will launch an investigation and figure it out!

  9. Bagoly

    So if they are serious about helping passengers, I guess all airlines need to publish with each flight which airspaces of authoritarian regimes / war theatres they will be using, and reroute where cost is minimal to reduce the number.
    Avoiding Kaliningrad as well as Belarus for flights to the Baltic countries from Europe would be a good start.

  10. Endre

    The imbeciles in Brussels will only express their “deepest concerns” and move on. Nothing is going to happen. I sincerely hope the journalist won’t be tortured or killed for doing his job: reporting facts.

  11. Morgan

    Not good, I hope other countries intervene

  12. manu

    @Dave

    That is not an argument; VNO can handle any issue the same way as Minsk; and Vilnius is a Ryanair base, EU and Schengen Country, so diverting to Minsk just for an emergency would make things much more complicated. There clearly is sabotage here.

  13. Karl

    Lucky,

    Are you just waking up to what is happening in Belarus? And it should not have taken this latest outrage by Lukashenko to awaken your anger and call for action, as this regime regularly arrests, tortures and kills those who peacefully
    oppose it.

    Wait until you hear what the Russians are doing, it might even give you pause about trying Aeroflot’s new business class or rave about the breakfast spread at the...

    Lucky,

    Are you just waking up to what is happening in Belarus? And it should not have taken this latest outrage by Lukashenko to awaken your anger and call for action, as this regime regularly arrests, tortures and kills those who peacefully
    oppose it.

    Wait until you hear what the Russians are doing, it might even give you pause about trying Aeroflot’s new business class or rave about the breakfast spread at the Park Hyatt in Moscow.

    On Belarus get a clue please! And quickly.

  14. S

    Not much will happen IMO by governments. You have to remember you're not really going against Belarus in this situation, you're going up against Russia as well. That makes it more challenging.

  15. Zakharov

    I’m sure a bomb will be found on the plane in Belarus….

    even if it wasn’t there when they took off

  16. Anthony D

    Slight inaccuracy in article above: "However, as you’ll notice when looking at the flight path, at the point of diversion the plane was roughly the same distance from Vilnius and Minsk."

    In fact at the point of diversion the plane was within 50km of LT border and less than 100km from Vilnius but 170km from Minsk. No innocent excuse for not allowing the plane to proceed to Vilnius. This was a kidnap pure and simple!

  17. axck

    Sending a fighter jet to force a commercial airliner to land under threat of being shot down isn’t any different than storming the cockpit and putting guns to the pilots’ heads from what I can tell. This was basically a state-ordered hijacking by the Belarusian government.

  18. Syd

    To give you guys a little more context: earlier this week in a matter of hours the regime shut down one of the oldest and biggest news sites in the country and arrested a lot of their mgmt & staff.

    Looking forward to the EU clowns expressing their deepest, gravest, utmost-est, extreme-stest concerns over this... And going about their day, listening to another round of Greta.

  19. The Original Donna

    According to the NYT they had air defense systems on high alert. I sure wouldn’t feel safe flying into or over Belarus and hopefully the EU will take strong action.

  20. KobeB

    There's an active nuclear power station in the proximity of a flight pass. I doubt Belarus wanna take any chances and let the plane with a bomb stay on its course.

  21. Anton H

    Well, these people tweet and post about anything they do - they have to remain visible. And - any country can order to land any plane in its territorial airspace for any reason or even without one. He should have chosen some other routing for his flight.

  22. Samo

    EU must ban its airlines from using Belarusian airspace, except when flying to/from Belarus (and apply the same restriction to other carriers when flying to/from the EU). That's the only acceptable answer.

  23. Gene

    @ Ben -- As horrible as this incident is, the reporter should have seriously thought twice about flying over Belarusian airspace. Not a smart move on his part.

  24. Ray

    Ryanair will not avoid Belarusian airspace simply because of cost reasons.

    The EU should do something serious about this. No flights to/from Belarus over their airspace.

  25. Eskimo

    This looks like a state organized hijack.

    From the last minute diversion turn, I believe MiGs are ready to show force (and blame some rebals?)
    The MiGs can easily take off of Baranovichi and have ample intercept time from once FR4978 reaches Belarus airspace. The diversion could have happen much sooner than right before leaving the airspace.
    My guess is pilots wouldn't comply until threaten by force, which probably be too late to...

    This looks like a state organized hijack.

    From the last minute diversion turn, I believe MiGs are ready to show force (and blame some rebals?)
    The MiGs can easily take off of Baranovichi and have ample intercept time from once FR4978 reaches Belarus airspace. The diversion could have happen much sooner than right before leaving the airspace.
    My guess is pilots wouldn't comply until threaten by force, which probably be too late to ask Eurocontrol for help. Sadly even then, I doubt Poland or anyone could scramble fighters to escort in time.
    Therefore, I also have safety concerns for the flight crew as their statements could shed light to this incident.

    If this isn't dealt properly, this could set new precedent for political fugitives.
    Now if we kiss goodbye to Russian / Chinese / Middle Eastern Airspace, how chaotic would that be for airlines or passengers.

  26. Ole

    Expect EU, Ryan Air, US to strongly condemn Belarus and appeal them to free the journalist. There is no oil or any natural resources to mine, so EU and US wouldn’t care except providing lip service

  27. neil

    How about EU and other western nations who should be appalled at this action banning all flights to/from Belarus. Could/would that work?

    @Gene: Blaming the victim doesn't help matters:-(

  28. KEVIN

    When there is no punishment minimally equal to the crime, perpetrator will continue to act as if nothing happened. I’m sure all the West would do is send thoughts and prayers to Roman Protasevich‘s family and pretend some outrage and hope for next news cycle to come along.

  29. Mark Fischer

    Still no reaction from the EU. I think corrupt von der Leyen must first find a chair before she can express her deepest concerns. This is state terrorism and Belarus and his supporter Russia need to be banned worldwide with no exceptions. The brave and innocent journalist will be killed by Lukaschenko and the passsengers are still held hostages in Minsk. This is unbelievable.

  30. Quo Vadis?

    The New York Times has a front (web) page article on the incident...

    Belarus Forces Down Plane to Seize Dissident; Europe Sees ‘State Hijacking’
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/23/world/europe/ryanair-belarus.html

  31. Jonathan

    Ehhh, I dunno.

    Obviously this is not objectively a “good thing” but please stop claiming this somehow broke previous norms. For one, the President of Bolivia’s plane was forced down in the EU because the Americans thought Snowden might be aboard. Granted that wasn’t a commercial flight but I fail to see why that should matter.

    This is just how the political game is played.

  32. Winston

    Journalist rolled the dice with his own life. Why would you enter a country or it’s airspace if you face the death penalty? There are countless legitimate reasons why a plane could be diverted or forced to land. And since torture doesn’t work he probably won’t even learn his lesson from this

  33. Sel, D.

    This is an act of war IMO. Time to send a Tomahawk to Belarus.

  34. Adams9802

    If the pilots would have not complied wit the jet what would they have done? Blown the jet out of the sky? I would have called their bluff. Alerted NATO and flown to Vilnius. The journalist will undoubtedly suffer grave physical consequences. Belarus has been an autocratic country for some years now. It’s time to isolate and sanction them into the Stone Age.

  35. Grzegorz

    Let's call the things what they are - this was a hijacking and an act of terrorism. The EU and NATO should act immediately, if they are worth anything.

  36. jetjock64

    Adam 9802 - right on! A fighter cannot force another plane to land anywhere. What is it going to do, threaten to shoot it down? How does it effectively make that threat? No doubt, the fighter pulled up the the airliner and used standard follow me signals (a turn away) and the feckless, stupid, or fearful airline crew just followed. Then didn't have to do that, especially over Belarus--a known outlaw country, with no doubt...

    Adam 9802 - right on! A fighter cannot force another plane to land anywhere. What is it going to do, threaten to shoot it down? How does it effectively make that threat? No doubt, the fighter pulled up the the airliner and used standard follow me signals (a turn away) and the feckless, stupid, or fearful airline crew just followed. Then didn't have to do that, especially over Belarus--a known outlaw country, with no doubt a nefarious purpose in mind. Sure enough. . .

  37. Luke

    If the pilots would have not complied wit the jet what would they have done? Blown the jet out of the sky? I would have called their bluff. Alerted NATO and flown to Vilnius. The journalist will undoubtedly suffer grave physical consequences. Belarus has been an autocratic country for some years now. It’s time to isolate and sanction them into the Stone Age.
    — Adams9802

    On some level I agree with you, I think...

    If the pilots would have not complied wit the jet what would they have done? Blown the jet out of the sky? I would have called their bluff. Alerted NATO and flown to Vilnius. The journalist will undoubtedly suffer grave physical consequences. Belarus has been an autocratic country for some years now. It’s time to isolate and sanction them into the Stone Age.
    — Adams9802

    On some level I agree with you, I think it’s very unlikely that MiG pilot or Belarusian SAM brings down a commercial plane. (Yet at the same time, don’t forget that a commercial flight was shot down over Ukraine not that many years ago.) At the end of the day, you have to realize the pilot ultimately is responsible for every person onboard, all 150+ passengers. By trying to call their bluff, he or she isn’t only risking their own life. He or she has to take whatever course of action preserves the most lives, however remote the risk may be.

  38. Adams9802

    I mean I obviously being an armchair general here and in all likelihood had I been subjected to such a choice I would have landed the plane. Still there is the opportunity to land in another country not Belarus. Also I’d like to know how this “bomb threat “ was conveyed to the pilot. Was it just ATC or was it the Jet fighter. It’s no wonder the crew was suspicious.

  39. James

    Does EU 261 apply in this case? If it was really a bomb case, I would say no, but this one isn't so it is a difficult one.

  40. RogerN

    Yes it was a hijack and kidnapping. What a surprise with that outlaw regime in Belarus.
    Kremlin will have been involved at the Athens end....surprised he was not poisoned.
    EU/USA should regard this as an act of war. Will the West do anything? I don't think I will hold my breath waiting for action but the journalist was or should have been under the protection of EU law on an EU plane so they should act vigorously.

  41. Fabio Colasanti

    The hijacking of the Ryanair flight is scandalous. Unfortunately, it has a precedent in the diversion to a military base in Sicily by US jets of a plane flying in the Mediterranean sky in October 1985. The plane was carrying some of the hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. In particular, it was carrying the terrorists who had murdered Leo Klinghofer, an elderly jewish passenger of the Achille Lauro.

    Of course, in my mind...

    The hijacking of the Ryanair flight is scandalous. Unfortunately, it has a precedent in the diversion to a military base in Sicily by US jets of a plane flying in the Mediterranean sky in October 1985. The plane was carrying some of the hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. In particular, it was carrying the terrorists who had murdered Leo Klinghofer, an elderly jewish passenger of the Achille Lauro.

    Of course, in my mind (and I hope in everybody's mind) the responsibilities of these people bear no comparison with the writings of the poor Belorussian blogger, but both governments considered the objects of their actions to be "terrorists".

  42. KobeB

    @Eskimo
    *Sadly even then, I doubt Poland or anyone could scramble fighters to escort in time.*
    Yea, sure. NATO planes would be shut down at the border. Belarus is in a military alliance with Russia. I doubt anyone would of risk starting a war over journalist.
    @ Luke
    *On some level I agree with you, I think it’s very unlikely that MiG pilot or Belarusian SAM brings down a commercial plane.*

    @Eskimo
    *Sadly even then, I doubt Poland or anyone could scramble fighters to escort in time.*
    Yea, sure. NATO planes would be shut down at the border. Belarus is in a military alliance with Russia. I doubt anyone would of risk starting a war over journalist.
    @ Luke
    *On some level I agree with you, I think it’s very unlikely that MiG pilot or Belarusian SAM brings down a commercial plane.*
    If the military gets involved plane will comply. There are simply no other options for the pilots. If you have any examples when commercial planes ignored military requests and survived please share them with us.

  43. UpperDeckJohnny

    This goes to the heart of all hijacking events. Most of the replies here are correct, the crew, and in particular, legally the CIC (Captain in Charge) has a responsibility for the safety of all on board, passengers and crew.

    However, I do feel that sometimes the bigger picture (to reduce or remove the opportunity for hijackings) should be seen, in which the plane does not comply, and in this case continues its short journey...

    This goes to the heart of all hijacking events. Most of the replies here are correct, the crew, and in particular, legally the CIC (Captain in Charge) has a responsibility for the safety of all on board, passengers and crew.

    However, I do feel that sometimes the bigger picture (to reduce or remove the opportunity for hijackings) should be seen, in which the plane does not comply, and in this case continues its short journey into Lithuanian airspace, calling a Mayday for assistance by Poland or Lithuania.

    Of course there is another angle to this, if we bear in mind the almost certain cause of the disappearance of MH370. Crew complicity.

    I can't help but to also echo the sentiments of those who are highlighting the simple, pseudo supportive platitudes that we will hear from Major nations, and the EU.

    Perhaps there's an opportunity for the UK to take unilateral action and ban overflies and the state airline of Belarus. It would harm it less than the EU if it had the guts to do it.

  44. Ray

    Many here are saying the EU and US need "to do something". What exactly is "that something" you are wanting? Sure, they can issue some statements regarding how this was done, the reason it was done, concern for the journalist. Even go to issue sanctions. But then what? They aren't going to send troops or fire missiles into Belarus. They can huff and they can puff all they want, they won't blow the house down.

  45. Dan777

    UDJ,

    I believe you mean Pilot in Command or PIC, not CIC!

  46. Sel, D.

    @Ray the EU is Belarus’ #2 trading partner at almost 20%. That’s a lot of power.

  47. JBR

    This incident was very serious, and sets a precedent for autocrats elsewhere to pull the same stunt. For example, in the future Iran could divert an aircraft transiting between Europe and India to land in Tehran to pull a political dissident off the plane. This incident is a clear and blatant violation of the ICAO Freedoms of the Air, and unlike some of the recent shoot downs of aircraft like Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot...

    This incident was very serious, and sets a precedent for autocrats elsewhere to pull the same stunt. For example, in the future Iran could divert an aircraft transiting between Europe and India to land in Tehran to pull a political dissident off the plane. This incident is a clear and blatant violation of the ICAO Freedoms of the Air, and unlike some of the recent shoot downs of aircraft like Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over Ukraine in 2014 and Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shot down over Tehran in 2020, there's no way Belarus can claim this was an accident. However, for those calling for action against Belarus for this, Ryanair is based out of Ireland, which isn't a member of NATO. Therefore, I don't see how NATO can declare an Article V emergency and act against Belarus. This leaves the EU dealing with the situation, which will probably lead to some additional sanctions against Belarus and finger pointing by Ursula Von Der Leyen, with a quick reversion to the EU's regular tasks of enacting such laws like ensuring that cucumbers and bananas are not bendy (real law), and funding the erection of a statue of Greta Thunberg in Brussels. In other words, not much will probably be done by the EU about this.

  48. Bruno

    This Ryanair plane was registered in Poland (Ryanair Sun subsidiary).

  49. Bill

    Sadly I don't have any faith that the EU will stand up to this dictator. The EU countries have repeatedly shown themselves to be completely spineless. This was a hijacking. Any attempt to say otherwise would be completely dishonest.

  50. Aaron

    "at the point of diversion the plane was roughly the same distance from Vilnius and Minsk."

    If anything, it looks closer to Vilnius...

    Yeah at this point all the EU can really do is put more sanctions, not just on Belarus, but also on Lukashenko himself and many of his cronies.

  51. Ray

    @Sel, D: A significant percent yes but not sure they would put it at risk. I think the US clearly showed exports (military firepower) to Saudi’s Arabia were more important than making a point over a killing of a journalist. While this has additional issues, the routing of the plane, the Saudi killing required secret hitmen sent into another country, lies to the world, etc. And understand, I don’t disagree something should be done.

    ...

    @Sel, D: A significant percent yes but not sure they would put it at risk. I think the US clearly showed exports (military firepower) to Saudi’s Arabia were more important than making a point over a killing of a journalist. While this has additional issues, the routing of the plane, the Saudi killing required secret hitmen sent into another country, lies to the world, etc. And understand, I don’t disagree something should be done.

    Frankly, I doubt anything will be done but the usual “we strongly disagree with these actions” comments from anywhere. I do laugh at those that call out the EU and call them weak. My guess is most are the tough guys in America supporting everyone in Texas walking around with a weapon and no permit required.

  52. shoeguy

    There is a lot to unpack here. Who tipped off the Belarus government? Why not proceed all the way to Vilnius, 35 minutes away? This incident reminds me of when the Egyptair hijacker(s) were on a 737 that was intercepted by NATO (I think) fighters in the Mediterranean in the 1980s and the jet was forced to land somewhere. But this was not a terrorist. This was a journalist.

    The move was unacceptable for...

    There is a lot to unpack here. Who tipped off the Belarus government? Why not proceed all the way to Vilnius, 35 minutes away? This incident reminds me of when the Egyptair hijacker(s) were on a 737 that was intercepted by NATO (I think) fighters in the Mediterranean in the 1980s and the jet was forced to land somewhere. But this was not a terrorist. This was a journalist.

    The move was unacceptable for sure. The West will scream and cry over it, but nothing in the end I suspect will be done. The EU can cry all it wants but Russia has it by the balls in the form of nat gas exports. I guess the rest of us can be thankful we don't have to live in such wretched places where journalists and those who disagree with regimes are imprisoned or tortured.

    The right move though would be to respond by banning Belarus aircraft from flying over EU airspace, a tough sanctions regime (not a UN watered down one). Cut off Belarus' access to the global payment system.

  53. Ray

    Great to see someone focusing on the facts of the incident.
    I consider this a geopolitical chess move by the opposition group. The world hasn't focused on Belarus for a while. The reporter may have volunteered to take the flight in order to create an international incident to bring focus back on sanctioning the Belarus government.

  54. majik

    Pot calling the kettle black. The EU set the precedent when they closed airspace in unison to force Evo Morales plane down in Austria in 2013. That was also a diplomatic flight that is normally afforded many protections. Soo many international laws were broken on that day in 2013, but nothing was done, no prosecutions, no investigations, no sanctions.

    Is it any wonder that another country would try to do this again when the...

    Pot calling the kettle black. The EU set the precedent when they closed airspace in unison to force Evo Morales plane down in Austria in 2013. That was also a diplomatic flight that is normally afforded many protections. Soo many international laws were broken on that day in 2013, but nothing was done, no prosecutions, no investigations, no sanctions.

    Is it any wonder that another country would try to do this again when the playbook was already written by the EU? The stench of hypocrisy is suffocating.

  55. Garth Jones pilot

    Ryanair and their pilots should have ignored the request to divert to Minsk. They were only 10 minutes from Lithuania airspace. There is was no way Lukashenko would have been stupid enough to shoot it down.

  56. UpperDeckJohnny

    The UK has banned all Belarusian carriers. Thanks to not having to bow to Brussels any more!

    dEUtschland, where are you? Still doing the filing or worrying about banning UK from flying into Germany. What a joke you are becoming.

    @Dan777: CIC is an industry nick name. PIC is correct, I agree.

Featured Comments Load all 57 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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UpperDeckJohnny

The UK has banned all Belarusian carriers. Thanks to not having to bow to Brussels any more! dEUtschland, where are you? Still doing the filing or worrying about banning UK from flying into Germany. What a joke you are becoming. @Dan777: CIC is an industry nick name. PIC is correct, I agree.

Garth Jones pilot

Ryanair and their pilots should have ignored the request to divert to Minsk. They were only 10 minutes from Lithuania airspace. There is was no way Lukashenko would have been stupid enough to shoot it down.

majik

Pot calling the kettle black. The EU set the precedent when they closed airspace in unison to force Evo Morales plane down in Austria in 2013. That was also a diplomatic flight that is normally afforded many protections. Soo many international laws were broken on that day in 2013, but nothing was done, no prosecutions, no investigations, no sanctions. Is it any wonder that another country would try to do this again when the playbook was already written by the EU? The stench of hypocrisy is suffocating.

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