The bomb threat against Ryanair's passenger airliner was received from Switzerland, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in parliament at a meeting with legislators, members of the Constitutional Commission, and representatives of government agencies on Wednesday.
"The message that there was a bomb on board that plane came from Switzerland," the television broadcaster ATN's Telegam channel quotes Lukashenko as saying, TASS reports.
At the meeting, the President said "the Belarusian authorities reacted pursuant to the information received in the Ryanair airliner incident."
"How should we have acted, especially amid a cascade of bomb threats targeting our facilities? You live in Belarus and know that either schools or universities or enterprises receive bomb threats every day. Even airliners receive such messages from IP-addresses in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In each case, we responded adequately to the information received," the state-run BelTA news agency quoted the Belarusian president as saying.
"There is no need to shatter Belarus"
Belarusian President also noted that "Belarus stands at the brink of an "icy" war."
"We need to preserve the country and pass it on to our children in good shape. History has chosen us. We are at the forefront of a new conflict, which is not a cold war, but an icy one. Only a state that is capable of resisting hybrid pressure will be able to survive," Lukashenko forewarned.
"My message to the entire international community is this: there is no need to try to shatter Belarus," Lukashenko added.
On May 23, a Vilnius-bound passenger plane that left Greece belonging to Ryanair airlines made an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport following a reported threat that there was an explosive device on board. A MiG-29 fighter was scrambled to escort the airliner. After landing, specialists searched the plane but found no bomb. The Belarusian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case over a false bomb threat message.
Minsk later said that among the plane's passengers was Roman Protasevich, a co-founder of the Telegram channel Nexta, outlawed in Belarus as extremist. He was detained by law enforcement agents. Following the incident, some countries began to suspend air links with Belarus or advised their airlines to steer clear of Belarusian airspace.
Director of the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry's aviation department, Artyom Sikorsky, said later that the bomb threat letter had been sent to Minsk airport's e-mail from the service Protonmail.com. The message in English was authored by members of the radical Palestinian movement Hamas.