Self-proclaimed president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko complained about Western pressure during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Deutsche Welle reports.
The meeting between Putin and Lukashenko took place in Sochi on Friday, May 28.
Lukashenko complained about restrictive measures against Belarusian airlines, including the state-owned Belavia, after the incident with the forced landing of the Ryanair airliner.
"This case with the plane, Belavia has nothing to do with it. What were the workers punished for?" said Lukashenko.
According to him, an "attempt to rattle the situation in Belarus to the level of last August " is underway. "It is clear that our Western friends want from us. What's there to discuss?" Lukashenko said.
"I will show some documents, you will understand what happened there and what is happening now," Lukashenko added.
The incident with the Ryanair plane, which was flying from Athens to Vilnius, occurred on the afternoon of May 23. The Minsk airport authorities claim the airliner requested a landing because of a bomb threat. The airline said that the crew received information about an explosive device on board from the Belarusian air traffic controllers, who gave instructions to land the plane in Minsk. A MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Belarusian Air Force was sent to escort the passenger plane.
The Ryanair plane was at the Minsk airport for more than five hours, but during this time no dangerous objects were found on board. However, the Belarusian security forces removed Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the Telegram channel Nexta, from the flight. Nexta actively covered rallies in Belarus after the presidential elections, which were held last August. Three criminal cases related to mass riots have been opened against the journalist in Belarus.
More than 12 airlines, including KLM, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways, have refused to fly over Belarus.
On May 29, Ukraine banned all flights to and from Belarus.