Belarus alleges Ukraine authorities threatens Belavia pilot and forces aircraft’s return to Ukraine airport
MINSK, 22 October (BelTA) – Belarus expects an official apology from Ukraine for the forced return of a Belavia passenger plane, BelTA learned from the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On 22 October, Belarus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Charge d'affaires of Ukraine to Belarus Valery Dzhigun. The head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission was given a note of protest to the Ukrainian authorities over the forced return of the aircraft that was performing a regular flight V2-840 on the route Kyiv-Minsk on 21 October. “The note emphasizes that the Belarusian side expects an official apology and seeks compensation for all financial costs and expenses incurred as a result of the actions of the Ukrainian authorities,” informed the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Belarusian Ambassador to Ukraine Igor Sokol has also been instructed to submit a similar note of protest to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry.
As was reported, on 21 October 2016, Belavia Boeing 737-800, carrying out flight V2-840 from Zhulyany (Kyiv) to Minsk, was forced to return to the departure airport. There were 136 passengers and six crew members on board. The plane took off Zhulyany airport at 15.25. At 15.36 when the plane was a mere 50 kilometers from the Belarusian border the aircraft's pilot received an order from a Ukrainian traffic controller to immediately head back, with no further explanation.
It was also stated that in case the order was not fulfilled, fighter jets would be sent into the air. The commander of the aircraft fulfilled the order and started to descend at 15.37, Belavia informed.