Privacy-focused email provider Proton Technologies AG said on Thursday that a bomb threat cited by Belarusian authorities as the reason for diverting a Ryanair jet carrying a journalist and blogger was only sent after the plane was diverted.
“We haven’t seen credible evidence that the Belarusian claims are true,” the Swiss company said in a statement. “We will support European authorities in their investigations upon receiving a legal request.”
Earlier, six U.N. Security Council members – Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, Britain and the United States – condemned on Wednesday the interception of a plane by Belarus as “a blatant attack on international civilian aviation safety and European security.”
They issued the joint statement after Estonia, France and Ireland raised the incident in a private meeting of the 15-member Security Council.
The six members also called for an investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the release of a dissident journalist who was on the flight.
Security Council action is unlikely, diplomats say, because veto-power Russia can shield its ally Belarus.
The head of global airline industry body IATA said a review was needed of what happened when a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Belarus to ensure that such an incident is never repeated.
“I think it is important that we have a detailed and fundamental review of what happened so that everybody can be clear about the steps that were taken and, more importantly, that the international community comes together and ensures that action like this never happens again,” IATA director general Willie Walsh told an online briefing on Wednesday.
Airlines re-routed flights to avoid Belarus’s airspace this week after a Ryanair jetliner was forced on Sunday to divert to Minsk, where a dissident journalist on board was arrested.
Meanwhile, the Swiss government said it has no knowledge of any bomb threat that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said forced a Ryanair passenger jet to land in his country, leading to a 26-year-old dissident journalist’s arrest.
“The Swiss authorities have no knowledge of a bomb threat on the Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “Therefore, there have been no announcements from the Swiss authorities to the Belarusian authorities on this matter.”
Lukashenko had said earlier the bomb threat that forced the airliner down had come from Switzerland.
Photo: A file photograph showing Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY