Statement by Estonia, Latvia and Czechia at UNSC meeting on Belarus/Ryanair incident

Statement by the Republic of Latvia on behalf of – Estonia, Czechia and Latvia

UN Security Council Meeting

“Threats to international peace and security (Belrus/Ryanair incident)”

October 31, 2022 New York

Mister President,

I am speaking on behalf of Czechia, Estonia and my own country Latvia.

We welcome that the UN Security Council is addressing the Lukashenko regime’s reckless behavior with regards to the forced landing of the Ryanair plane in May 2021.

We thank the President of International Civilian Aviation Organization for the briefing and [drawing the Council’s attention to the results of the investigation].

We reiterate our strong condemnation of the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk on May 23, 2021. This preplanned and intentional act of Lukashenko regime was a blatant attack on international civilian aviation safety and showed flagrant disregard for international law.

Mr. President,

After a thorough, impartial and independent investigation, the ICAO Council established that the bomb threat against Ryanair Flight was deliberately false and endangered its safety, and that the threat was communicated to the flight crew upon the instructions of the officials of Lukashenko regime. There can be no doubt about the attribution and the perpetrators of this irresponsible and dangerous act.

These are methods of terrorists and not responsible actors of international relations.

ICAO investigation has established the facts and provides trustworthy and reliable information. This information constitutes a good basis for further actions of the UN Security Council and the UN.

Public confidence in the security of air transport is vital. This Council has said in its resolution 2309 of 2016 that all States have the responsibility to protect the security of citizens and nationals of all nations against attacks on air services operating within their territory, in a manner consistent with existing obligations under international law. We call on the Security Council to maintain the close attention to the safety of international aviation and full accountability for those responsible.

Mr. President,

It is clear to everybody by now that Lukashenko regime landed the plane by force for one reason only – to arrest the journalist and civil activist, who used to criticize Lukashenko regime.

Lukashenko regime’s attempts to silencing political opposition and independent journalists were not an exception, but a deliberate policy, especially after the sham so called Presidential elections of August 2020, when Lukashenko regime felt especially vulnerable.

According to the human rights center “Viasna”, as of October 28, 2022, there are 1337 political prisoners in Belarus. You get arrested just because you express your political views. This was the policy and practice of the Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, due to various support of Russia, Lukashenko managed to keep the de facto power in Belarus at the expense of fundamental human rights, despite of the large majority of Belarus people demanding change. It is a sad reality that Lukashenko has highjacked the sovereignty of Belarusian people.

Mr. President,

The forced landing of the plane is just one element of the reckless behavior of Lukashenko regime. Since February 24, Belarus has supported and enabled the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in so many ways both politically and practically –

such as letting the Russian armed forces to use its territory and airspace for military supplies, missile, artillery and drone attacks, as well as for equipment and troop’s incursions in the international recognized territory of Ukraine.

We call on Belarus to stop supporting the Russia’ s aggression against Ukraine, to immediately release all prisoners sentenced on politically motivated grounds and cease all other ongoing human rights violations, to respect fundamental democratic rights of Belarusian citizens and stop hybrid attack on the European Union border.

We call on Russian armed forces to withdraw from the whole territory of Ukraine within its international recognized borders, and to stop the war, to stop the human suffering and to stop aggravating negative global consequences.

Justice must prevail, the perpetrators must and will be held accountable.

I thank you.