Belarus had the aircraft diverted with dissident Roman Protasevich before a bomb threat came in by mail. This confirms the Swiss email provider Proton Technologies AG, which is ready to cooperate with an investigation by European authorities into the incident.
The lecture by the Internet company is at odds with that of the authorities in Belarus. They stated that a bomb threat was the reason that the passenger plane had to land with the wanted Protasevich in Minsk. There, the authorities arrested the dissident and his Russian girlfriend. They found no explosive and Ryanair‘s aircraft was later allowed to fly to Lithuania without the couple.
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the bomb threat came from Switzerland, but the government of the Alpine country claims to know nothing about it. Proton Technologies also says “that he has not seen any credible evidence that Belarus’s reading is correct.” The authorities in the Eastern European country have also said that it was an imminent message from Hamas, which then denied all involvement.
The magazine Newlines had already reported that the bomb threat came in late. This happened 24 minutes after the pilot of the Ryanair aircraft had been warned by air traffic control in Belarus that there may be a bomb on board. The mail would have been subject “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) and sent with a mail account from Proton.
European leaders have strongly condemned the diverting of the flight with Protasevich. They are aiming for new sanctions against the Lukashenko regime. This was already under international fire because protests against the outcome of the presidential elections were violently suppressed.