Belarus plane: What...
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Belarus plane: What we know and what we don't

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Belarus plane: What we know and what we don't



International anger has สล็อต เอ็กโอ grown over the detention of an opposition Belarusian journalist and his girlfriend, after the Ryanair plane they were travelling on was forced to land in the country.


Here's what we know so far about the arrest of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega.


Why did the plane land in Belarus?
Ryanair flight FR4978 was travelling from the Greek capital, Athens, to Vilnius in Lithuania on Sunday 23 May when it made an abrupt change of course over Belarus, some 10km (six miles) from the Lithuanian border.


According to an unverified transcript from the Belarusian transport ministry, air traffic controllers told the pilot at 09:30 GMT "you have [a] bomb on board and it can be activated over Vilnius". Even though the plane was closer to Vilnius than Minsk, the pilot was told to divert to the Belarusian capital. At 09:47 the pilot declared an emergency.


An earlier transcript broadcast by Belarus TV made it look as though the crew had asked to land in Minsk.


A Belarusian MiG-29 jet was scrambled to escort the plane, which landed at 10:16 GMT (13:16 local time).


Was there a bomb threat?
Belarus has claimed the flight was diverted because of an emailed bomb threat from Hamas, but the Palestinian militant group denies any involvement.


Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told parliament the email originated in Switzerland. However, Swiss authorities say they know nothing about it, and the Swiss email provider Proton Technologies said it had not seen "credible evidence that the Belarusian claims are true".


It confirmed reports that the email was sent 24 minutes after Belarus ordered the plane to divert.